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Rangers hoping to rest starters extra day

MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are off on Thursday and want to use that to give their starters an extra day of rest.

That's why Yu Darvish likely will pitch Saturday against the Angels instead of Friday on his normal four days' rest. The Rangers are hoping A.J. Griffin can come off the disabled list and pitch Friday. Otherwise it likely will be Nick Martinez.

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ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are off on Thursday and want to use that to give their starters an extra day of rest.

That's why Yu Darvish likely will pitch Saturday against the Angels instead of Friday on his normal four days' rest. The Rangers are hoping A.J. Griffin can come off the disabled list and pitch Friday. Otherwise it likely will be Nick Martinez.

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Griffin, who is on the disabled list because of gout in his left ankle, has progressed to throwing a light bullpen session and will have one more later this week. That will determine if he can start Friday for the first time since throwing six scoreless innings in a 7-0 victory over Oakland on April 17.

"That's the biggest thing: Hit all the marks and go through all the process," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "Nick is a guy that has done it before. If A.J. doesn't hit the marks, we don't have to rush him and make that decision. We're still in April."

Video: TEX@OAK: Griffin one-hits the A's through six innings

Darvish allowed two runs in eight innings in a 5-2 victory over the Royals on Sunday. He threw 113 pitches. It's the first time Darvish has gone that many innings and thrown that many pitches since having Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery on March 17, 2015.

"We would really like for Yu to have the extra day," Banister said.

Rangers beat

• Right-handed pitcher Tyson Ross is still limited to playing catch as he recovers from the back spasms that have delayed his rehabilitation program. Ross is scheduled to throw on flat ground Tuesday then be evaluated as far as pitching off a mound for the first time in two weeks.

• Utility infielder Hanser Alberto, who is on the disabled list with a sore right shoulder, has started playing catch again. He had been shut down for almost two weeks because of continuing pain in the shoulder, a chronic problem for him since the middle of Spring Training.

• Rangers pitchers took bunting practice Monday. The Rangers first road Interleague games are May 8-9 in San Diego. Griffin and Darvish are the Rangers' likely starters for those two games.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

Texas Rangers, Yu Darvish