ARLINGTON, TEX., JULY 24 -- Another Nolan Ryan start, another countdown.

Ryan records are becoming almost commonplace as the Texas Rangers' 43-year-old right-hander keeps reaffirming his status as one of baseball's all-time great pitchers. And if he beats the New York Yankees here on Wednesday night, he will become only the 20th major leaguer to win 300 games.

His latest achievement will come after getting his 5,000th strikeout last Aug. 22 and throwing his record-setting sixth no-hitter earlier this season against the defending world champion Oakland Athletics.

"I get a lot of satisfaction in pitching as long as I have," said Ryan, who won his first game with the New York Mets in 1968. "And to have remained the same style of pitcher. I came in a power pitcher and I will go out that way."

Respect for his longevity has grown throughout a career in which he was once criticized for failing to win enough games. He has overcome chronic back problems in running his record this season to 10-4. He is 5-0 in his last six starts and, of the last nine pitchers to reach 300, five have done it on the first try.

Ryan shortened his usual meticulous pre-start workout to avoid aggravating his back spasms. They're caused by a stress fracture and sore Achilles' tendon. "I don't want this to be a continuing thing," he said. "I think it would wear on everybody."

His next start would be Monday in Milwaukee. He has had success against the Yankees this season, though, and two previous starts. "I don't see what all the fuss is about," said opponent-to-be Dave LaPoint. "It'll just be my 79th {career} victory."

The attention adds pressure on Ryan's teammates, who are fourth in the American League West after winning 12 of their last 16 games.

"It's easy to say he's going to win his 300th this season and it doesn't matter if it happens Wednesday or later," Rangers reliever Kenny Rogers said. "But we know what it means for him to do it here in Texas where he's made his name. It wouldn't be the same on the road."

Ryan would like to keep pressure off any Rangers reliever by completing the game but all of that is up to Manager Bobby Valentine.

"We'll go by basically what it takes to win the game," Ryan said. "If we come out, we'll come off the field together and the fans won't know what to do {cheer Ryan or boo Valentine}."

Ryan, who's from Alvin, Tex., has risen to superstar status in his home state. The number of records he has set is second only to the sheer volume of memorabilia and promotions capitalizing on his popularity.

Normally a softspoken sort, he is the advertising spokesman for nine companies, and counting. He also turned down a request by the state's Republican party to run for agriculture commissioner in February.

Wednesday's game has been sold out since midway through his 299th victory against the Tigers last Friday at Arlington Stadium. It's the earliest sellout in Rangers' history, surpassing the four-day advance for Ryan's 5,000th strikeout. Each of his last four home starts have sold out.

"The pressure that comes with this is something that builds," he said. "The anticipation and knowing how many people go out of their way to come to be a participant in being here."

The tension also builds in and around the Rangers clubhouse, no matter how much the players try to avoid it. "It's not something that I check with them about or they check with me about," Ryan said. "But they can observe by the number of people coming through the locker room that something is different."