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05/20/08 8:09 PM ET

Millwood making progress in recovery

Starter throws off mound, reliever Mendoza shelved

MINNEAPOLIS -- Rangers pitcher Kevin Millwood had a good day on Tuesday. Luis Mendoza most certainly did not.

Millwood made progress toward returning from the disabled list, throwing 35 pitches off the mound without problem before Tuesday's game with the Twins.

"A really good day," pitching coach Mark Connor said. "Very encouraging. He threw 35 pitches, located them all well, and really drove the ball down the hill. Everything looked good."

Millwood said he has had no problems with the strained groin muscle that has put him on the DL after his last start, on May 10 against the Athletics. His next step will likely be another throwing session off the mound on Thursday, followed by a simulated game sometime next week.

The earliest he could return to the rotation would probably be May 31 against the Athletics.

"I think it's healing pretty quickly," Millwood said. "Hopefully we'll be able to move right through this and get going again."

Mendoza is on the disabled list with a sore right shoulder, but it's a blister on the middle finger of his right hand that's keeping him from going out on a rehab assignment. The Rangers shut him down again on Tuesday after the blister kept him from throwing in the bullpen. He threw just three pitches before he was forced to stop.

"It burns when I throw," Mendoza said. "It's just not healing."

The Rangers will simply give Mendoza more time before he tries to throw again.

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