Padilla hits 15-day DL with neck strain

Rotation in flux as Padilla hits DL

ARLINGTON -- Kevin Millwood is being pushed back to Saturday and Vicente Padilla was placed on the disabled list Thursday with a strained muscle in the right side of his neck.

Those are the latest developments in a rotation that remains in flux leading up to the All-Star break.

Padilla still has not thrown on the side since his last start against the Orioles on Friday, when he left the game with both a bruised right thumb and a strained muscle in the right side of neck.

"If they want to put me on the disabled list that's their choice," Padilla said before the move was announced. "But I don't need to go."

Padilla is on the DL and can still pitch the third game after the All-Star break, because the move is retroactive to July 5.

To replace Padilla, the Rangers recalled reliever Wes Littleton from Triple-A Oklahoma where he was 7-1 with a 4.35 ERA and three saves. He has also made five appearances with the Rangers earlier this year, allowing eight runs in 81/3 innings.

Millwood, who has been bothered by a strained groin muscle, was supposed to pitch on Friday. That's his normal turn, but the Rangers, wanting to give him an extra day, have moved him back to Saturday. That was the decision the Rangers made after Millwood threw in the bullpen on Wednesday.

Luis Mendoza will pitch on Friday. He'll be going on three days' rest, but threw just 51 pitches in his start against the Angels on Monday.

Millwood missed 17 days in May because of a groin injury. The Rangers are trying to be cautious because they know how important he will be to them in the second half. Manager Ron Washington has already named Millwood as his starter in the first game after the All-Star break, followed by Scott Feldman, Padilla and Eric Hurley.

"For us to be healthy and have a chance, I need to be healthy in the second half," Millwood said. "I'm doing everything can, this has just been one of those seasons where I haven't had a whole lot of luck. You just try to get through it and move on."

Millwood is 6-4 with a 4.93 ERA in 17 starts and is tied for 45th in the American League with 95 innings. Padilla is 34th with 107 innings while going 10-5 with a 4.70 ERA in 18 starts.

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