Rangers manager Ron Washington was reluctant to talk about Yu Darvish’s return on Friday, perhaps because he believed he had already said too much.
Washington retreated from a comment he made to a radio audience on ESPN/103.3 FM earlier in the day, in which he said the benefit of Darvish pitching again this season “would just be the fact that he hasn’t quit on his teammates.”
“I don’t know how to answer that without sounding like I’m making a negative statement,” said Washington, who was asked whether it was important to the clubhouse for Darvish to pitch. “I just want him to go through the process and then we’ll evaluate as we go through the process.
“I’ll try to answer that and I’ll say one word in the sentence and it’ll be taken all out of context and all hell will be breaking loose. I didn’t mean it like that.”
Darvish hasn’t pitched since being placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Aug. 10, with right elbow inflammation.
At the time, Darvish seemed to cast doubt about when or even if he would come back this year out of an overabundance of caution. The next day, Washington said he expected Darvish to return when he was eligible on Aug. 25.
When he’ll actually return has yet to be determined, though it will not be Monday.
Washington said he has no concern about Darvish’s commitment to the team.
“None at all.”
Right-hander Miles Mikolas’ start has been pushed back a day, and he will pitch in Darvish’s slot Monday at Seattle.
That leaves Sunday’s starting pitcher to be decided.
The leading contender is right-hander Scott Baker, Washington said. The decision rests on if and how much Baker is used this weekend in relief.
The backup plan doesn’t include Derek Holland, who is pitching in Las Vegas for Triple A Round Rock, his sixth injury rehabilitation start.
Following Mikolas on Monday will be Nick Martinez, Colby Lewis and Nick Tepesch.
Tepesch ‘growing up’
Tepesch (4-7, 4.15 ERA), a Kansas City native, takes his turn in the second of the three-game weekend set against his former hometown team looking to build on four consecutive solid outings.
The 25-year-old has pitched seven innings and given up only two runs each in back-to-back starts. He’s allowed three or fewer runs in four straight games, posting a 2.50 ERA over that span.
Washington said again on Friday that the key to Tepesch’s improvement has been executing pitches in situations or controlling situations instead of situations controlling him.
“He’s growing up,” Washington said.
“I’m just trying to build off those” last outings, Tepesch said. “Looking back at what I’ve been successful with and … trying to execute that in every outing.”
• Rougned Odor was out of the lineup on Friday to rest, giving him two straight days off with Thursday’s off day. “You can see he’s getting a little tired,” Washington said. “First time he’s had to grind like this. He’ll be back today.”
• Washington said he’ll take pitching coach Mike Maddux with him when he manages a major league All-Star team during a November tour of Japan.