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03/18/09 3:30 PM ET

Wilson hopes to pitch by Saturday

Reliever sidelined by blister, plans to throw batting practice Thursday

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers reliever C.J. Wilson, sidelined with a blister on the middle finger of his left hand, is planning to throw live batting practice on Thursday. If that goes well, Wilson said he'll be ready to pitch in a game as early as Saturday.

"It's feeling really good," Wilson said.

He has not pitched in a game in nine days and has made just three appearances in Cactus League games. But Wilson said there is no doubt he'll be ready for Opening Day.

"I can still get five or six innings in before the end of Spring Training," Wilson said. "I'm not concerned about it because I've been throwing every day and throwing all my pitches. I just haven't been in a game.

"But Spring Training is so long, I only need four or five innings. It's not a big deal to me. I'm excited about getting back on the field."

The Rangers are hoping to get all their primary relievers 8-10 innings of work in a game this spring. Wilson should get that if he has no more setbacks.

"My concern is just for his health," manager Ron Washington said. "We've kept his arm going so we've just got to get that blister well."

Wilson, who missed the final two months of last season because of elbow surgery, has not been able to mount much of a challenge to Frank Francisco for the closer's job this spring. The blister has prevented that. But the Rangers are still counting on him heavily as their primary late-inning setup reliever.

Luis Mendoza also remains sidelined with a blister problem but is throwing on the side. Tommy Hunter (strained groin) is also limited and left-handed reliever Joe Torres is having more back problems. He is unavailable.

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