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04/02/08 9:50 PM ET

Mendoza on schedule for April 12 start

Righty throws simulated game; next action is rehab start

SEATTLE -- After two solid starts from their top two starters in their first two games, the Rangers also received some good news from their fifth starter on Wednesday afternoon.

Luis Mendoza is recovering well from a blister on the middle finger of his right hand and is still on schedule to make his first start on April 12 against the Blue Jays.

Mendoza, who started the season on the disabled list, threw 63 pitches in a simulated game Wednesday and had no problems with the blister.

"It felt good," Mendoza said. "I got the feel for the ball, the skin is toughened and the skin underneath is healed. I get this every Spring Training, and I get through it. I'll be fine the rest of the year. I won't have any problems."

The simulated game lasted four innings at Safeco Field, five hours before the Rangers' regular game with the Mariners. Adam Melhuse, Jason Botts and Ramon Vazquez took their turns batting against Mendoza.

"He threw well," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He had a good sinker, his breaking ball was good, his changeup was good and his blister didn't break. He threw well and didn't have any residual effects."

Mendoza's next step will be to make one more start on medical rehabilitation assignment for the Triple-A Oklahoma RedHawks. That start is scheduled for Monday against Nashville in Oklahoma City.

Mendoza won the team's fifth-starter spot after Brandon McCarthy went down in Spring Training with severe elbow inflammation. McCarthy may start a throwing program on Friday in Surprise, Ariz., but is not expected back until the end of May at the earliest.

At the top end of the rotation, Kevin Millwood and Vicente Padilla turned in quality starts in the Rangers' first two games of the season. That's only the fourth time in the last 25 years the team's first two starters began the season in that fashion. Millwood and Padilla combined to allowed just one earned run over 12 innings on Monday and Tuesday.

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