Darvish near miss hot topic for Rangers

HOUSTON — The 24 Texas Rangers not named Yu Darvish may have taken his lost perfect game harder than the right-hander did Tuesday night.

Wednesday morning, though, it was back to business. And that business included giving Darvish a hard time for not being able to get to the line-drive single by Houston’s Marwin Gonzalez that ended the perfect bid with two outs in the ninth inning.

“PFP (pitchers fielding practice) for Darvish tomorrow,” catcher A.J. Pierzynski said in the clubhouse. “Right through the legs.”

Darvish said following the game that he had no chance to make the play on the liner that went through his legs.

No chance would probably also sum up Houston’s chances against Darvish Tuesday in the 7-0 victory. Texas manager Ron Washington got to see a replay of all of Darvish’s career high 14 strikeouts and came away impressed.

“It wasn’t as nasty looking from the side as when I saw it on TV,” Washington said. “He was nasty. His ball was moving all over the place. He had his cutter working. He had a breaking ball. He threw some splits. He threw a couple changeups. He threw very few four-seamers. To watch it after the fact, he was dominant.”

Darvish hadn’t thrown more than 78 pitches in any spring outing but he threw 111 Tuesday. Washington said he didn’t realize Darvish had a no-hitter going until around the seventh inning because the game was so close.

Washington said once the game reached the eighth inning, Darvish was going to be pulled if he allowed a hit or a walk.

Texas had Michael Kirkman, Joe Nathan and Tanner Scheppers ready in the bullpen starting in the eighth inning. That doesn’t mean they wanted to pitch. They were too busy watching what they hoped would be history.

“We knew that if we went in the game it was because he gave up a hit,” said Kirkman, who came in and preserved the shutout despite allowing a single. “We got loose and got where we needed to be. We got out there and just watched and talked. That was so much fun to watch. It seemed like no one had a chance.”

Darvish’s next start is Sunday against the Los Angeles Angels. Despite his high pitch count and a small blister on his right ring finger, the Rangers don’t think there will be an issue with him making the start. Pitching coach Mike Maddux said the between-starts routine for Darvish will also remain the same.

Maddux said the ideal number for Darvish’s pitch total would have been 100. But with the chance at history, the Rangers were willing to push it.  It also helped that Darvish didn’t have an inning in which he threw more than 18 pitches, keeping him from the taxing frame.

“He was out of gas after seven,” Maddux said. “He admitted it. The situation kind of gets you up where you can find that little extra that you need to pull you through it.”