BOSTON -- The Rangers have scratched Vicente Padilla from Thursday's start against the Red Sox and will pitch rookie Tommy Hunter instead. Hunter will be making just his third Major League start.

Padilla was scratched with an inflamed muscle joint in the right side of his neck. He had a cortisone shot on Monday, and the Rangers are hoping he'll be ready for Sunday.

"If we get to Sunday and something unforeseen happens, we'll adjust," manager Ron Washington said. "But right now, we're planning on giving him the ball."

The Rangers are also planning to activate Kevin Millwood off the disabled list and pitch him on Friday against the Rays. Millwood (strained right groin) has made just one start on a medical rehab assignment, but he felt that was enough. The Rangers had thought about having Millwood make a second start, but with the rotation in a dire situation, they decided to slot him back.

"He's healthy," Washington said. "It's a situation where we need him, and we'll go with him. We feel his experience will play a big part."

Hunter will likely be sent back to the Minors when Millwood is activated, but the Rangers were hoping to cut back his innings going down the stretch anyway. They were also hoping to cut back on Scott Feldman, but he's scheduled to pitch on Monday, against the Tigers. Feldman will at least get an extra day of rest after giving up 12 runs in 2 2/3 innings in his last start against the Red Sox on Tuesday.

Pitching matchup
TEX: RHP Tommy Hunter (0-1, 10.61)
Hunter was 2-2 with a 3.24 ERA in five starts at Triple-A Oklahoma and 11-8 with a 3.56 ERA in 22 starts overall in the Minors before being called up. He allowed six runs on eight hits and two walks in his first start, against the Blue Jays, and five runs in 4 1/3 innings against the Yankees. Overall, he has allowed 16 hits and two walks in 9 1/3 innings while striking out eight.

BOS: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (13-2, 2.90 ERA)
Matsuzaka has won two straight starts and is 5-1 with a 2.17 ERA in his last eight. He is 7-2 with a 3.65 ERA in 11 starts at Fenway Park, compared with 6-0 with a 2.04 ERA on the road. Opponents are hitting .206 off him, including .221 by left-handed hitters and .191 by right-handed hitters. Opponents are hitting .196 off him with runners in scoring position. Matsuzaka is 2-0 against the Rangers over the past two years despite a 6.97 ERA in two starts.

Tidbits
Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia is planning on playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic to get extra playing time and experience at catcher. The Rangers are also hoping to get playing time for outfielder Brandon Boggs, infielders German Duran and Travis Metcalf, and first baseman Chris Davis. ... Pitcher Derek Holland has been promoted from Class A Bakersfield to Double-A Frisco.

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Up next
• Friday: Rangers (Kevin Millwood, 6-6, 5.40) vs. Rays (Matt Garza, 9-7, 3.88), 7:05 p.m. CT
• Saturday: Rangers (Matt Harrison, 4-2, 7.07) vs. Rays (Edwin Jackson, 9-7, 4.07), 7:05 p.m. CT
• Sunday: Rangers (Vicente Padilla, 12-6, 4.85) vs. Rays (Scott Kazmir, 8-6, 3.22), 7:05 p.m. CT