"Well, I think it would just be the fact he doesn't quit on his teammates, that's all there is to me," Washington said on ESPN 103.3 FM on Friday.
Darvish said the inflammation in his right elbow that has him on the 15-day disabled list is mild and that he doesn't want to put himself at risk for further injury.
Darvish's commitment was called into question by some who felt he could pitch through the ailment, even in what has become a lost season for the Rangers. But Washington said he trusts his pitcher to tell him how he's feeling.
"He knows his body, and when you talk about the elbow, we really don't know what he's feeling other than what he tells us," Washington said. "The diagnosis says [one thing], but we actually don't know what he's feeling."
Washington said before Friday's game against the Royals that he wasn't sure when and whether Darvish would have a bullpen outing, which would kick-start Darvish's return from the DL. The Rangers tentatively have Miles Mikolas scheduled to pitch in the first game of a three-game series that begins Monday at Seattle, the first day Darvish is eligible to return.
However, Darvish will remain on the DL when he's eligible to return on Aug. 25, and could miss the entire 10-day road trip that starts Monday in Seattle.
Last week, Washington said every player has inflammation at this point in the season, including Darvish, and that to miss games isn't an acceptable practice.
"We're in a race to win ballgames," Washington said last Friday. "I expect Darvish to pitch on the 25th [of August, when he is eligible to be activated]. Why wouldn't he? So he's got inflammation. I've got inflammation.]
Asked Friday about his comments last week, Washington acknowledged that he shouldn't have said them.
"That wasn't a shot at Yu Darvish," Washington said. "It was really a statement I shouldn't have made.
"I wasn't making fun of Yu Darvish having inflammation. A lot of it had to do with me sitting up there talking to the reporters and they're going back and forth and back and forth and I just said, 'I got inflammation.' But that's how those things happen."
On the season, Darvish is 10-7 with a 3.06 ERA with 182 strikeouts in 144 1/3 innings.