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Rangers sticking with Millwood

Rangers sticking with Millwood

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ARLINGTON -- Kevin Millwood will start again this season, manager Ron Washington said on Monday.

The idea of going with a five-man rotation without the slumping Millwood as the Rangers teeter on falling out of the American League West and Wild Card races?

"That's not even a thought," Washington said. "No. No way."

There is some thought being given to pushing Millwood back where he won't start against the Angels in a key series this weekend, a stunning development considering he started the season as the team's ace, and he is the club's highest-paid pitcher.

Millwood threw a bullpen session in the rain on Monday, the second straight day he's thrown from a mound after going just 3 2/3 innings and allowing five runs in Saturday's 8-3 rain-shortened loss to Seattle. Millwood is 2-5 with a 6.29 ERA in his last 12 starts.

Washington said he was going to have a meeting with pitching coach Mike Maddux and bullpen coach Andy Hawkins after Millwood's bullpen session to decide how to proceed with the struggling 34-year-old veteran. Washington said he would have a decision one way or the other soon.

The likely scenarios are that Millwood will start on Sunday against the Angels or Tuesday in Oakland rather than take his normal turn in the rotation on Friday, which is the opener of the three-game series with the Angels.

Rookie right-hander Tommy Hunter, who threw his first career complete game on Sunday, would be the likely starter on Friday if the Rangers decide against Millwood, followed by Scott Feldman, the Rangers' hottest pitcher on Saturday.

Washington said Sunday's starter against the Angels will either be Millwood or Brandon McCarthy, who starts Tuesday's game against the A's. Dustin Nippert is the starter for Wednesday's game against the A's.

Millwood, who needs 4 1/3 innings to earn a $12 million contract for next season, said Monday that he has watched video with Maddux while working on some bad habits he's developed of late, which is what he also said Sunday. He said he's trying to move into a more upright stance.

When asked if he is taking his regular turn in the rotation on Friday -- on six days' rest -- Millwood seemed to think he would be.

"I guess," Millwood said. "It's just my day."

The decision was weighing on Washington, who realized that he might have to tell Millwood, who carried the Rangers before the All-Star break, that he might have his turn skipped in the biggest series of the season to date.

"Everybody who's been here has been a part of you being here," Washington said of being in contention with 20 games left in the season. "Now, you might have to shun somebody, it's hard."

Todd Wills is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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