"If Sunday rolls around and he hasn't pitched, it will be Sunday," Washington said. "He'll be available Sunday."
At this point, Ryan Dempster is penciled in as the starter. But Darvish's stiff neck has felt better every day. Darvish tossed on Wednesday and he was out on the field throwing prior to Thursday's game.
Darvish was scheduled to pitch Tuesday and was pulled because of a neck tightness. He has been receiving treatment and has been steadily better. If Darvish is healthy, the club could decide to insert him in the rotation on Friday against the Los Angeles Angels. If not, he'd pitch on his regular day, which is Sunday.
* David Murphy was given the day off today. Washington said he's been looking to get Murphy a day off and with a day game after a night game and lefty Travis Blackley on the mound, he felt Thursday was a good day to do it. Craig Gentry is in center field with Josh Hamilton shifting to left.
"This is the most I've played," Murphy said. "Everybody is worn down a little bit. I think it catches up with everybody at some point."
Murphy acknowledged that he's been in a bit of a rough patch. He's 1-for-12 on the homestand and is batting .231 in his last 20 games.
"You can see him slowing down a little bit," Washington said. "I thought today would be the perfect day. He'll be back in tomorrow."
* Washington said right now Martin Perez is starting next week. Perez lasted just two-thirds of an inning on Wednesday and the bullpen had to pick him up. Roy Oswalt came in and had two scoreless innings, but the veteran isn't sure how many pitches or innings he could go if he started next week. He's been down for a while and then pitched two of the last three games and admitted he was a bit gassed in the second inning of his appearance on Wednesday, so he might not be a viable option. Washington indicated the club was likely to keep Scott Feldman as the long man in the bullpen. We'll see if anything changes based on how the standings look this weekend.
* Washington is pleased he has his main bullpen pieces available today, though he's hoping Matt Harrison can pitch deep in the game. Joe Nathan, Mike Adams, Koji Uehara, Robbie Ross and Alexi Ogando are all ready to go today if needed.