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07/08/08 8:40 PM ET

Slapdash arms carrying load until break

Padilla, Hurley, Millwood sit as rookies, spot starters help adjust

ARLINGTON -- Eric Hurley is on the disabled list, Michael Ballard is expected to start on Wednesday, Kevin Millwood is dealing with a strained groin muscle and nobody is sure when Vicente Padilla will throw again.

Those are the latest developments as the Rangers try to put together some semblance of a starting rotation to compete against two first-place teams.

"I don't think we have a rotation," Millwood said. "We have a smorgasbord of pitchers that we're throwing out there until we get to the All-Star break. Everybody has injuries, but this is amazing."

The original plan had Hurley pitching Tuesday and Padilla pitching Wednesday against the Angels. But Hurley went on the disabled list Tuesday with a strained left hamstring, even though he insisted he was ready to pitch.

"We just don't want to take any chances," general manager Jon Daniels said. "Hurley has the right attitude and he volunteered to pitch Wednesday but he's not 100 percent. One wrong step covering first base and he could be down for awhile and this kind of injury can linger. We want to get him right."

Padilla has been scratched from Wednesday's start with both a bruised right thumb and a strained muscle in the right side of his neck. The Rangers keep saying he's going to test his injury by throwing in the bullpen, but he has not been able to do that for three straight days.

"We'll just wait and see how Padilla is tomorrow," Daniels said, repeating what the Rangers have been saying for four straight days. But the Rangers have no idea when Padilla will pitch.

Right now the Rangers are leaning toward Ballard on Wednesday. Ballard was their 14th-round Draft pick in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, and is 8-3 with a 3.97 ERA in 15 starts at Double-A Frisco. It will be his Major League debut. Matt Harrison made his Major League debut on Tuesday against the Angels.

The Rangers' other option would be to bring somebody out of the bullpen.

"None of these options are ideal," Daniels said. "We're banged up. You can't create options. Regardless of who you're playing, you don't like to be in this position. Fortunately, because of the All-Star break and the nature of the injuries, we should be okay coming out of the All-Star break. But these are two first-place teams coming in, and you'd like to put your best foot forward."

Scott Feldman is still scheduled to pitch on Thursday. Millwood is scheduled to pitch on Friday, but he may be pushed back to Saturday because of a strained groin muscle that apparently occurred on Sunday while pitching in the heat and humidity in Baltimore.

"It almost might have been a cramp from the heat and humidity and being out there so long," Millwood said. "I may have cramped up. It feels a lot better today than yesterday."

Millwood is scheduled to throw on the side on Wednesday and see if he can go either Friday or Saturday against the Chicago White Sox.

The Rangers just don't have a lot of other options right now. Kason Gabbard, Jason Jennings, Brandon McCarthy, A.J. Murray and Doug Mathis are all on the disabled list and none of them are even close to being ready to pitch.

"It's just something freaky that's happened to us and we have to adjust the best we can," manager Ron Washington said. "If you stop re-adjusting, you might as well go home."

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