Padilla improving, expects to start

Updated: July 30, 2009, 6:48 PM ET
Associated Press

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers pitcher Vicente Padilla is on track to make his first start in two weeks after being out because of the swine flu.

Padilla, scratched from Tuesday night's game because he was still weak from his illness, is scheduled to start Friday night against Seattle.

"He's feeling strong enough. That's why he's taking the ball tomorrow," manager Ron Washington said Thursday. "I expect him to go out and do what he always does."

Asked if he was sure Padilla (7-5, 4.67 ERA) would start, Washington responded, "As sure as I can be. He hasn't told me anything different."

Second baseman Ian Kinsler was out of the starting lineup Thursday night, the second game in a row he was out because of a left hamstring strain. Washington said Kinsler was feeling better and did some agility work.

Washington said Kinsler was available as a pinch-hitter, but would be removed for a pinch-runner if he did bat and reached base.

Right-hander Kevin Millwood, the Rangers ace who left his start Sunday after two innings because of a strained left gluteus muscle, said it was still realistic that he could start Sunday in the finale of the weekend series against Seattle.

"It's just getting where it doesn't hurt," Millwood said. "Rushing back wouldn't be very smart. That would just compound the problem."

Millwood (9-7, 3.39) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Friday, but said that will depend on how he feels. Even without a bullpen session, Millwood said there was still a chance he could pitch Sunday.

Padilla last pitched July 17.

After being scratched from his scheduled start July 22 against Boston due to flulike symptoms, lab reports indicated Padilla had H1NI influenza A. He is thought to be the first athlete in U.S. major pro sports to be diagnosed with swine flu.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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