ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The appearance Joe Nathan made in the ninth inning Tuesday night didn’t result in a save in the Texas Rangers’ 7-1 victory, but it wasn’t an insignificant appearance.The closer hadn’t worked since Sept. 8, so he needed to shake off the rust as the Rangers continue to play for a wild-card berth. But the scoreless inning also gave him 54 games finished, one shy of triggering a clause in his contract that in essence turns a club option for 2014 into a mutual option.Plan A, said Nathan, is to get the Rangers into the postseason. Plan A for the off-season is working out a way to return to the Rangers for at least another season.“I don’t know that it means a whole lot, other than it gives me a little leverage in looking for an extension,” Nathan said. “You should want the club to pick up the option and feel good about picking up the option.”The option would pay Nathan $9 million. He will be 39 at the start of next season, but he entered Wednesday with a 8-7 record, a 2.16 ERA and 76 saves since joining the Rangers for the 2012 season.He expects that his age will come up as he looks for work in 2014.“But I don’t think that it’s going to be restricting,” said Nathan, who had Tommy John surgery in 2011. “I’ve proven that with what I’ve done in on-field performance, and I’ve held up health-wise, as well.”200 in his sightsYu Darvish passed the 200-strikeout plateau in August, but he had already achieved that feat in his brief major-league career.The 200 that Darvish wants this season is innings pitched, and he has a chance to get there for the first time in his two seasons tonight in the series finale at Tropicana Field.Darvish (12-9) needs to pitch 6 1/3 innings to get to what has become a benchmark figure for a starting pitcher. Even if he falls short, he will have at least one more start to get there.“I haven’t reached that goal yet,” said Darvish, who logged 191 1/3 innings as a rookie in 2012. “As a starter, being in the rotation, I think that’s the minimum job you can do. I hope that I could get there.”Darvish, who logged 232 innings in Japan in 2011, has gone seven innings his past two outings, suffering 1-0 defeats each time. He also missed a start in July while on the disabled list with shoulder fatigue.Ogando on SundaySo far, so good for Alexi Ogando in his rebound from Tuesday, when he allowed one run in five innings as the Rangers snapped their seven-game losing streak.The right-hander was back on the field early Wednesday doing his normal day-after workout, and said that his arm feels good after his longest outing since Aug. 13.The Rangers are planning to start Ogando on Sunday at Kansas City. The average velocity on his fastball was almost 96 mph, which tells manager Ron Washington that the arm troubles that have plagued Ogando this season have been knocked out.“I think the last time we shut him down we found his issue,” Washington said. “His arm is freer, his breaking ball has more depth now, and he’s downhill with his fastball.”Briefly• Washington said that Geovany Soto is likely to catch Yu Darvish tonight, but “I reserve the right to change my mind,” he said. Soto has caught the past two Darvish starts, both since he waved off A.J. Pierzysnki during a mound visit Sept. 4.• Ian Kinsler started at designated hitter Wednesday after back-to-back starts by Lance Berkman. The right-handed-hitting Jeff Baker will likely be the DH tonight with left-hander Matt Moore starting for Tampa Bay.
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JeffWilson