Notes: Rangers still battling injuries
Washington able to set rotation; Loe's return won't affect 2008
DETROIT -- Manager Ron Washington went through the litany of nagging injuries facing the Rangers before their first game of Tuesday's doubleheader in Detroit.First up was Hank Blalock, who started the first game of the doubleheader at designated hitter. Blalock is still working to strengthen his arm after missing most of the season with surgery to correct Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. The surgery removed a rib, which was putting pressure on his nerves. He has started seven games as the DH, but has yet to appear in the field. "Everything is still dependent on how he feels in the forearm area," Washington said. "He still felt it on Saturday when he went out and tried to throw, so hopefully by the time we get to Oakland, he'll be ready to go. That's not written in stone, it's on Hank's pace. When Hank tells us he's ready, he'll be in there." Right-hander Kameron Loe is still unavailable with a sore right elbow. "As long as he feels something, we can't push him," Washington said. "He doesn't feel good right now, so we can't push him." He still could return this season if, and when, he tells Washington he is ready to play. "As much pitching as we need, we aren't shutting nobody down," Washington said. "Unless it's absolutely necessary. If Kam comes back and we still got 15, 18 games left, and he's healthy, then certainly we'll want to see him throw. " Washington said starter Luis Mendoza, who left Sunday's game after he was hit on the left knee with a line drive, is still working his way back. "He's still got soreness in his push-off knee, and you can't be out there trying to pitch off a knee that's not allowing you to get the extension you want," Washington said. "There's no structural damage, he just tweaked it." Kason Gabbard's blister on his left thumb has hardened to the point where he will be available to make his next start on Friday. "They put some stuff on it to harden it, and he's made it so far, so he's ready to go," Washington said. Rotation set: Now that the extent of each pitcher's injury is known, Washington was able to set the rotation for the next five days. Edinson Volquez will start Wednesday, followed by Kevin Millwood, Gabbard, Brandon McCarthy and Vicente Padilla. McCarthy, who was activated from the disabled list before Tuesday's game, was scheduled to go two innings or about 45 pitches in the second game of the doubleheader against the Tigers on Tuesday. He will likely go three innings or 60 pitches in his next start after Tuesday. He had been on the DL since Aug. 10 with a stress fracture in his right shoulder blade. Looking ahead: Washington said there is no pressure for Loe to return this year to improve his likelihood of joining the Rangers rotation next season. "We come into Spring Training and compete," Washington said. "I think Padilla, Millwood are probably two guys that are guaranteed spots. And McCarthy. Everybody else is gonna have to get on board and crack the whip and go for it." Other notes: Bill White is not with the team after flying to Alabama to deal with a medical emergency in his family. ... Both teams wore a patch of the American flag on the left side of their respective hats to honor the six-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The flag at Comerica Park flew at half mast under orders of Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm. Quotable: "I don't think we'll see that game again, especially against a team like Detroit. I'll take a 2-1. I'll take a 1-0. I'll take a 5-4, 6-5, I'll take that." -- Washington on the possibility of a repeat of the Rangers' last doubleheader on Aug. 22, when Texas scored 30 runs in the first game of a twin bill against the Orioles. Up next: The Rangers end their two-day stop in Detroit with Wednesday's game at Comerica. Volquez (2-0, 2.45 ERA) will start for the Rangers against Justin Verlander (16-5, 3.56). First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. CT.
Tim Kirby is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.