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Rangers target Sunday for Darvish's return

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are hoping pitcher Yu Darvish will be ready to return to the rotation by Sunday against the Angels. Darvish was scratched from Tuesday's start against the A's with stiffness in his neck.

Darvish reported to the Ballpark in Arlington early on Wednesday to get treatment and reported improvement in his neck. Darvish was unable to even throw a baseball on Tuesday but was able to play catch on Wednesday.

"He's better today. ... It's day to day," manager Ron Washington said. "He's much better today, we'll see how he is after he gets treatment."

The Rangers started rookie left-hander Martin Perez on Wednesday and Washington said there was no way Darvish would be able to bump him. Matt Harrison is scheduled to pitch on Thursday against the Athletics with Ryan Dempster and Derek Holland scheduled to pitch the first two games against the Angels.

Washington said the Rangers might consider moving up Darvish before Sunday if he's completely recovered. If Darvish waits until Sunday, it would likely be his last start of the regular season, which ends next Wednesday.

"He's got to be 100 percent," Washington said. "If he's 100 percent before Sunday, you might see him before Sunday."