ARLINGTON -- Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish, who was skipped in his last start on Tuesday with stiffness in his neck, threw off the mound in the bullpen on Friday without any problems. The Rangers expect him to be good to go for his start on Sunday against the Angels. Darvish threw 36 pitches."I was able to throw my bullpen without any discomfort," Darvish said. "When I make my next start, I don't think it will be a factor. I've been getting treatment and doing exercises, but mainly it has been rest." Darvish's last start was on Sept. 20 against the Angels when he allowed one run over eight innings in a 3-1 victory. He is 4-0 with a 1.46 ERA in his last five starts. "He hasn't had any issues so he's ready to go," manager Ron Washington said.
Ailing Adams hopes to be ready for playoffs
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are eight or nine days away from opening the playoffs. They don't know if reliever Mike Adams will be ready by then as he is continuing to experience more problems with the trapezius muscle in the back of his right shoulder.The Rangers are going to give him time off to get the shoulder right. They just don't know how long he will need. If this were earlier in the season, Adams would be on the disabled list. An MRI taken on Friday showed a mild strain and he will continue to undergo treatment. "I need to take a step back," Adams said. "I'm not right. Physically I'm not 100 percent. I've been going out battling and grinding when I know I'm not 100 percent." Adams, the Rangers primary eighth-inning reliever, was shut down for a week after giving up two runs against the Indians on Sept. 11. He returned to the mound on Sept. 19 and made three appearances without giving up a run. But he entered the game to pitch in the eighth inning on Thursday with the Rangers holding a 9-4 lead over the Athletics and gave up three home runs. It's the first time in his career that he has given multiple home runs in an appearance. Koji Uehara had to enter the game and got the last out. "Yesterday I was glad we had the lead we had," Adams said. "If it had been a two-run lead, I would have cost us a win. I can't keep doing that. I can't keep doing that to myself and I can't do that to my teammates. "There is something going. We rested it for a week and thought that might be enough. Today it's more than I thought. We're going to take it day by day and do what's best for me and the team. Me going out there today is not good for me or the team." The Rangers, after a three-game series with the Angels and three with the Athletics, will open the playoffs either next Saturday or Sunday. Adams may have to miss at least the first round. "I need to get back healthy," Adams said. "If I need to take a weekend off or a week off, if it takes longer, I need to do what's best for the team. It's discouraging. It's difficult. I know I'm not 100 percent and it's starting to affect me mentally."
Uehara likely to take on increased responsibilities
ARLINGTON -- Rangers reliever Koji Uehara is likely to take on a more prominent role in the bullpen with Mike Adams sidelined with a strained muscle in the back of his right shoulder.Uehara has emerged from his own physical problems to become one of the Rangers most effective relievers lately. Uehara, who was on the disabled list with a strained lat muscle in his right rib cage from June 10 to Aug. 26, went into Friday's game having pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings in his last 10 games. He had also retired 17 straight hitters, including 10 on strikeouts, and 22 of the last 24 he's faced. "He has been very aggressive and very convenient with his pitches," manager Ron Washington said. "He's getting early outs, he's not wasting pitches. He's attacking the strike zone. He looks strong. He looks like he's fired up to compete." Adams has been the Rangers primary reliever in the eighth inning but will be sidelined for an unknown length of time. Uehara and Alexi Ogando will likely be the primary right-handed setup relievers while left-hander Robbie Ross will likely get late inning work, as well.
Harrison comes of age, turning 18 this season
ARLINGTON -- Matt Harrison, with his 18th win on Thursday, achieved a personal goal that he set for himself in Spring Training."I had a goal of trying to win three games a month," Harrison said. "Somehow it worked out that way. Goals don't always work out, but I was able to stay healthy and make every start. A lot of things have to go your way." Harrison won exactly three games in four of six months this season. He was 5-0 with a 1.29 ERA in June but 1-3 in July. He is 3-2 with a 3.00 ERA in five starts in September. That's his second lowest ERA of any month this season. Harrison, whose previous career-best was 14 wins last season, is scheduled to start on Tuesday against the Athletics. If the Rangers have clinched the division title by then, that start will likely be a short one serving as a tuneup for the playoffs. Harrison and Yu Darvish will likely be the Rangers' top two starters for the playoffs in an order to be determined. The Rangers could use three more wins, or more, from Harrison in October. "I'll take three more," Harrison said. "I know I have more left in the tank. I pitched through October last year and I know what it's like. I know the mistakes I made and I hope I can improve on that."
Third baseman Mike Olt, sidelined with inflammation in his right heel, is running and taking batting practice, but the Rangers aren't sure when he'll be ready to play in a game. He hasn't played since Sept. 12 and there's still some doubt whether he will be ready by the beginning of the playoffs. Said manager Ron Washington, "We're not thinking about the playoffs. He just needs to get healthy." Mike Napoli, who hits in the lower half of the Rangers order, hit a two-run home run in the first inning of Thursday's 9-7 victory over the Athletics. It was Napoli's first hit in the first inning since a grand slam against the Athletics on July 8, 2011. He was 0-for-15 in the first inning between the two home runs. First baseman Mitch Moreland normally starts against right-handers but was out of the lineup on Friday against Angels ace Jered Weaver because Washington wanted to catch Geovany Soto with Ryan Dempster on the mound. Napoli started at designated hitter and Michael Young was at first base.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.