Rangers manager defends heavy use of Yu Darvish

Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington is defending his use of Yu Darvish after the right-hander threw a career-high 130 pitches Thursday night against Detroit.

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Ron Washington was not about to question himself Friday over Yu Darvish's recent workload.

Especially since Darvish felt fine after throwing a career-high 130 pitches Thursday night against the Detroit Tigers.

The Texas manager had no qualms about sending his ace back to the mound in the eighth inning against the Detroit Tigers even though the Rangers had a 10-4 lead.

"Not going to second guess myself," Washington said before Friday night's game against Detroit. "Not going to do it."

In a matchup against Detroit star Justin Verlander, Darvish had thrown 115 pitches through seven innings.

Washington said he felt the Japanese right-hander was the only pitcher he had that could slow down the heart of Detroit's order in the eighth. Darvish retired sluggers Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez in the eighth before Cory Burns pitched the ninth to preserve a 10-4 victory.

The seventh-year Texas manager also noted setup man Tanner Scheppers was unavailable after pitching the previous two days and the bullpen was weary after throwing 10 1-3 innings in a three-game series earlier this week against Oakland.

"I felt like the one guy who get through the big part of that lineup was already out there," Washington said. "He was up to the challenge and he felt good. So I sent him out there."

Washington said Darvish felt fine Friday and went through his normal exercise routine. Darvish's next scheduled start is Tuesday against Oakland. He is 7-1 -- tied for most wins in the big leagues -- with a 2.97 ERA and a majors-leading 86 strikeouts.

"When we get off days, we're able to move him back an extra day," Washington said. "When we have availability, we'll use the bullpen and give him innings off."

The Texas starting rotation has been hit by injuries early this season.

Opening day starter Matt Harrison was sidelined after two starts and is not expected to return until August because of back surgery. Alexi Ogando went on the disabled list Thursday with right biceps tendinitis, and Colby Lewis hasn't pitched this season as he recovers from right elbow surgery.

Washington said Darvish has been upset about being taken out of games, including last Saturday against Houston after the 26-year-old threw seven innings and 105 pitches against the Astros.

Darvish said Thursday night that high pitch counts are not an issue.

"In Japan, I averaged about 120 pitches per outing," Darvish said. "After the 100th pitch, I think I was fired up and I had a lot of gasoline left."