Season’s long grind taking its toll on Darvish

Posted Wednesday, Sep. 25, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Yu Darvish confirmed Tuesday night that he is dealing with a physical issue, although Darvish and the Texas Rangers don’t seem overly concerned about it. It has been classified as more normal wear and tear of a 162-game season.

“Well, it’s no more than what is already out there,” manager Ron Washington said. “Everybody has issues that they’re dealing with and he’s no different. I always try to tell you guys he’s not Superman. This grind of the major league season in the United States is like no grind anywhere they play baseball because every night you’re facing the best.

“His issues are no more than what you already know. That’s where the grind comes in. You’ve got to go beyond the call of duty. It becomes mind over matter.”

Darvish has lasted less than six innings in consecutive starts for the first time this season. He went 51/3 innings on Tuesday, allowing two runs on four hits with four walks and nine strikeouts over a 101-pitch outing.

In his previous start last Thursday in Tampa Bay, Darvish went five innings, allowing two runs on five hits with six walks and four strikeouts.

Still, Darvish has passed the 200-inning mark for the first time in his young career, and is leading the major leagues with 269 strikeouts.

“Every one has something and I have something going on, too, but the bottom line is I threw 200 innings,” Darvish said after Tuesday’s start. “I think I did the minimum of my job and there are still games ahead of us. I’d like to throw as many innings as possible.”

Bullpen matters

Joe Nathan would have gladly entered the game with two outs in the eighth inning Tuesday with two runners on. The 38-year-old closer prepares himself to go more than one inning, especially this time of year.

“I’m ready for it, but at the same time I know there are other guys who can be called upon,” Nathan said.

Ron Washington echoed those thoughts and said he didn’t foresee a scenario where Nathan would be called upon before the ninth inning. The bullpen showed its depth in that scenario as well.

Once Tanner Scheppers reached the 30-pitch mark and was struggling, Jason Frasor entered with two on and two outs in the eighth. Frasor spotted his fastball well and jammed Carlos Corporan to induce a shallow fly ball to center. Initially, Frasor thought the ball would fall in but Leonys Martin caught it on the run.

“When it’s over, it’s great fun,” Frasor said. “It’s not fun standing on the mound. It’s serious business, but it’s fun when everything works out.”

Winter ball bound

Jurickson Profar has played in 83 major league games this year, and played 37 more at Triple A. With a more limited workload as a utility player, the 20-year-old rookie intends to play winter ball this off-season for Licey in the Dominican Republic.

Profar said he is unsure what position he’ll play this winter, although it will only be one position determined by the Rangers.

“I haven’t been told yet,” Profar said.

Profar called his rookie season a learning experience, saying, “I have a lot to work on.”

That includes everything from defense to base running to improving as a right-handed batter. Profar has a .188 average as a right-handed batter this season compared with a .255 average from the left side.

“I still think my right-handed swing is good, just have to work on it,” Profar said.

Briefly

• The Rangers have informed Tim Purpura, senior director of player development, that he will be reassigned within the organization before next season, according to two baseball sources. Purpura, the Astros’ general manager from 2005-07, joined the organization after the 2011 season when Scott Servais left to become an assistant general manager with the Angels.

• The Rangers are expected to reach the 3 million mark in attendance Thursday for a second consecutive season. They had never reached the 3 million plateau before last season.

• Ron Washington wasn’t surprised when he heard Jason Giambi delivered the walk-off homer in the Indians’ victory on Tuesday night. “Not shocked,” Washington said. “Big-time hitter. He’s clutch and always has been.”

• Washington on being playoff chasers this year compared with leaders the past few years: “It’s fun, it’s nerve-wracking, it’s all the above. No matter where this goes, I’m proud of those guys in that clubhouse.”

Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison

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