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Notes: Eyre set to join rotation

Notes: Eyre set to join rotation

ORLANDO -- Right-handed reliever Willie Eyre is likely to join the rotation on Saturday and pitch against the Houston Astros.

It would be his first Major League start, but he has made 66 starts in the Minor Leagues.

The Rangers are looking for a fifth starter after putting Millwood on the disabled list for a second time with a strained hamstring muscle and they don't have many options. Eyre, who threw 71 pitches in relief of Kevin Millwood on Monday vs. the Angels, is the one serious candidate they are looking at from the Major League staff.

""He's got some good stuff," manager Ron Washington said. "He's a battler and he's started before. He's got his pitches up to where he could give us some length."

Mike Wood filled in for Millwood when he was originally on the disabled list, but Wood was sent down to Triple-A Oklahoma on Monday with a record of 0-1 and a 7.02 ERA.

John Koronka is the leading candidate from Triple-A, but he is 3-3 with a 5.40 ERA while right-hander Josh Rupe is 2-2 with a 4.86 ERA. Rupe has yet to pitch the way the Rangers want to see. Koronka had a run of four quality starts before giving up six runs in four innings against Tucson on Sunday.

"They've been a little inconsistent," Washington said. "They've had a good start, and then a so-so one. They really haven't put it together yet."

Jamey Wright, who is on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation, is not an immediate option. He's scheduled to throw 30 pitches in a simulated game on Thursday, then begin a rehabilitation assignment in the Minor Leagues. But it would likely take him four starts to work up to 90 pitches before he's an option.

Millwood could be awhile: The Rangers are bracing for Millwood having an extended stay on the disabled list after re-injuring his left hamstring muscle.

"It's definitely sore today," Millwood said. "I haven't done anything. I don't know how long it will take to get the soreness out."

Millwood spent the minimum 15 days on the disabled list before pitching on Monday, then re-injured himself on the fourth pitch. Pitching coach Mark Connor said the Rangers need to make sure that Millwood's 100 percent before he returns to the mound for a Major League game.

"Otherwise we'll be doing this all year," Connor said. "We did everything right to get him back, but once the adrenaline got going, he tried to do a little more. That's what happened.

"I'd be really happy if he's back in two weeks on a rehab assignment."

Murray fulfills dream: The problems of the Rangers pitching staff have created a dream come true for left-handed pitcher A.J. Murray.

Murray, whose career has been sidetracked by two shoulder surgeries, was one of two pitchers recalled from Triple A Oklahoma on Tuesday when the Rangers placed Millwood (strained hamstring) and Ron Mahay (strained rib cage) on the disabled list.

"It's been a long time waiting," Murray said. "I've been through a lot ... all the surgeries, it has been a battle. This is something I've been waiting for a long time.

Murray, who was joined by right-hander Scott Feldman in being called up, was 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA in 13 games at Oklahoma. A 19th round pick in the 2000 draft, he missed all of the 2004 and 2006 seasons because of shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum.

"It was always in the back of your head, wondering if this was going to happen," Murray said. "I was just hoping to correct the mechanical things that was causing the shoulder to tear."

Beware of playing catch: Mahay said he injured his right rib-cage muscle not throwing in a game but just playing catch on Sunday.

"It's just locked up on me," Mahay said. "I had a hard time breathing. It was a weird feeling, like the wind being knocked out of you. That's how I felt. I almost dropped to my knees."

The Rangers aren't sure how long Mahay will be out.

"It could be a day or it could be a week," Mahay said.

Catalanotto on hold: The Rangers have decided against activating Frank Catalanotto off the disabled list until they return home on Monday.

Catalanotto, who is on the DL with bicep tendinitis in his right arm, is scheduled to be sent to Triple-A Oklahoma on a medical rehabilitation assignment Thursday so that he can face live pitching.

The Rangers hope that by the end of that assignment he will be throwing at full strength and be ready to return to the outfield as well as swing the bat.

Feldman adjustment: Feldman allowed seven earned runs in two innings in his first two outings at Triple-A Oklahoma but pitched two scoreless innings on Saturday against Tucson. The difference was Feldman moved from the first base side of the pitching rubber to the third base side. That's where he was last year, but he made the switch hoping to have better success against left-handed hitters.

"I feel more at home on the third base side," Feldman said. "It's tougher for hitters to pick me. This is how I pitch so I'm going to stay there."

He said it: "They have some kids who in 2-3 years, they're going to be something special." -- Washington, on the Tampa Bay Devil Rays

Monday's Minor Stars: Top performances on Monday from the Rangers Minor League teams.

•Gold: Class A Clinton outfielder Craig Gentry went 5-for-5 with two runs scored and three doubles in a 7-2 victory over Cedar Rapids.

•Silver: Double A Frisco starter Doug Mathis allowed just one unearned run over six innings in a 1-0 loss to Midland.

•Bronze: Class A Bakersfield's Freddie Thon went 3-for-4 and Taylor Teagarden went 3-for-5 in a 4-3 loss to Lancaster.

Briefly: Right-handed pitcher Glenn Swanson has been promoted from Class A Clinton to Bakersfield. Right-handed pitchers Mike Wagner and Dan Douchet have been promoted from extended Spring Training to Triple-A Oklahoma. ... Sammy Sosa was given the day off on Tuesday so Victor Diaz batted cleanup again. Washington has reason not to adjust his batting order. Michael Young, Mark Teixeira and Sosa batted a combined .231 in the 3-4-5 spots and were hitting .328 in the 2-3-4 spots going into Tuesday's game.

Up next: Right-hander Vicente Padilla pitches for the Rangers against left-hander Casey Fossum for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in Lake Buena Vista on Wednesday night at 6:10 p.m. CT .

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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