Notes: Millwood gets his work in

Notes: Millwood gets his work in

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Instead of facing the Athletics in a Spring Training game on Wednesday, Kevin Millwood threw in a simulated game on a back field.

With the Rangers and A's meeting 10 times by May 27, the Rangers opted not to use Millwood against Oakland.

"I just throw when I'm told and where I'm told," Millwood said.

He threw 47 pitches, 36 for strikes, in three innings against three teammates -- Ruddy Yan, Aarom Baldris and Mike Nickeas.

"The first inning it didn't feel great," Millwood said. "I think it takes a little bit longer to get loose at 9:30 in the morning, but after that first inning I felt like the ball was coming out good and I started locating a little bit better.

"I feel like I'm moving along pretty good. It seems like it gets better every time out. My side [bullpen sessions] feel better in between. I feel like I'm on my way to where I want to get. Nobody was really squaring too many balls up."

Millwood said he threw only fastballs and changeups.

"There are times you're out there thinking, 'Well, this is a pretty easy out if I just throw him a breaking ball,' but that's not what I'm working on," Millwood said.

Millwood's next scheduled appearance is in a "B" game on Sunday against the Royals instead of starting against the Mariners, another West Division rival.

"It will be nice to get into a 'B' game, where guys are playing defense behind me and with an umpire, so I'll have something to complain about, anyway," Millwood said and laughed. "Spring Training games are just that. It is tough to get the adrenaline flowing. It is to the point where it gets monotonous almost."

He said he would use all of pitches on Sunday.

"Today I just wanted to make sure I could put my fastball where I wanted to more times than not," he said. "I was able to do that."

Impressive outing: Edison Volquez, who is in the mix for the fifth slot in the rotation, certainly did not hurt his chances with his start against the Athletics on Wednesday. He allowed one infield single, walked one and struck out two in three shutout innings.

That might be the best performance by a Rangers starter in the first seven games.

"[That is] fair to say, against a pretty good lineup with a lot of left-handers and the wind blowing out to right," Rangers pitching coach Mark Connor said.

Connor said he liked "everything" about Volquez's three innings.

"He was perfect," Connor said. "He walked a guy that I thought he struck out. He gave up a base hit and it was probably an error. He commanded his fastball, changeup and breaking ball. I've been telling him all spring he's got the stuff to do this. He's got to believe in it and trust it."

Volquez dances in the clubhouse on the days he pitches.

"I'm a good dancer, but I think I'm a better pitcher," Volquez said.

If he continues to pitch the way he did against the A's, he could do a Texas 10-step right into the fifth slot in the rotation.

Playing shortstop: The second-base job is up for grabs in Spring Training between veteran Mark DeRosa and rookie Ian Kinsler. DeRosa, however, started at shortstop, while Kinsler played second base on Wednesday.

Manager Buck Showalter said he wanted to give Joaquin Arias a day off with a day-night doubleheader on Thursday.

"I thought it would be a good day to get Mark a day at shortstop," Showalter said. "I talked to him a little bit prior to today to make sure he didn't read anything into it."

If Kinsler breaks camp as the second baseman, DeRosa would be used as a utility player.

"As we go on, we want to make sure we cover ourselves and play Mark some at third base and play some outfield if we end up going that direction," Showalter said. "I don't see us really making that decision that early."

Briefly: C.J. Wilson, who has been slowed by a hamstring injury, and Francisco Cordero are scheduled to throw a simulated game on Thursday. If all goes well, they will pitch in the Sunday "B" games. ... John Leicester was scheduled to throw against the A's, but was scratched with a stomach virus. ... Showalter said Yan's left arm was "real, real sore" after he had his arm up on the dugout watching the first inning and he was held out of the game. ... Left-hander Kevin Walker struck out four in two perfect innings on Wednesday. "I thought Walker was real sharp," Showalter said.

Upcoming: Right-hander Adam Eaton will start for the Rangers against the Royals in a 2:05 p.m. CT start on Thursday. The Rangers will play Team Japan at 8:05 p.m. CT. Both games are at Surprise Stadium.

Alan Eskew is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.