Notes: Millwood lands on DL
Rangers call up Littleton; Wood joins starting rotation
ARLINGTON -- Kevin Millwood made it clear that he did not want to go on the disabled list.The Rangers, not wanting to be short in the bullpen, decided otherwise, putting Millwood on the disabled list retroactive to April 29 and recalling reliever Wes Littleton from Triple A Oklahoma. "I'm not happy, but it's not my decision," Millwood said after the Rangers made the move on Saturday. Millwood is sidelined with a strained left hamstring muscle, but the Rangers are hoping he'll miss two starts and be ready to pitch on May 14 against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. That's the first day he can be activated from the disabled list. The Rangers were going to use Monday's off-day and push Millwood back to Saturday against the Angels. This gives them an extra two days and allows them to call up a reliever from Oklahoma. "It's for the best," manager Ron Washington said. "If he wasn't on the disabled list, he'd be sitting around, being a pest and trying to get back in the lineup. Now he can go at his own pace." Mike Wood is filling Millwood's spot in the rotation but the Rangers haven't decided on their rotation for the upcoming Yankees series. Wood and Robinson Tejeda both pitched in the doubleheader on Thursday and the Rangers haven't decided who will pitch on Tuesday and who will pitch on Wednesday. Brandon McCarthy is also scheduled to pitch in the series, but the Rangers may push him back so that Vicente Padilla could pitch Thursday on his normal four days rest. Millwood played catch in the outfield on Saturday and said the hamstring is continuing to improve. "I feel like I'm a few days away," Millwood said. "If it keeps progressing the way it has been, I feel like it will be good." Alcohol policy being reviewed: The Rangers allow beer in their clubhouse and on their team flights but are reviewing that policy, general manager Jon Daniels said Saturday. A number of clubs are reviewing their policy after it was determined that Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock was over the legal alcohol limit when he was killed in a car accident. But Daniels said the Rangers began reviewing their team plane alcohol policy in the off-season. "I don't know what the genesis was as far as looking at the team plane," Daniels said. "Every year you look at different policies. This puts a little more spotlight on it." The Mets, Yankees, Pirates, Astros and Athletics have banned alcohol from their clubhouses. Washington said he isn't inclined to ban beer from the clubhouse. "They are grown men," Washington said. "If they prove they can't handle it, then we'll have reason to pull it out of there. They haven't proven that." Gagne watch: Eric Gagne is scheduled to throw another simulated game on Sunday morning before the Rangers game with the Blue Jays. If all goes well, Gagne will be activated on Tuesday when the Rangers open their three-game series with the Yankees in New York. The Rangers had talked about sending Gagne out on a medical rehabilitation assignment but are leaning against that after watching him throw on Friday. "The purpose of a rehab assignment is to make sure somebody's stuff and command is as sharp as it needs to be," Daniels said. "It doesn't look like he has lost anything." Gagne has been on the disabled list with a strained right hip. "It feels really good," Gagne said. "Everything is good. In my opinion, I'm ready." Kinsler, Cruz sit: Second baseman Ian Kinsler was out of the lineup on Saturday for just the second time this season and Matt Kata started at second base. Kinsler has just three hits in his last 23 at-bats. "I've been wanting to give him a day off ," Washington said. "But we haven't been winning ballgames, so I wanted to get the best guys out there. But he was starting to look sluggish, so I decided to give him a whole day off." Nelson Cruz was also out of the lineup and has started in just four of the Rangers last ten games. Even with Frank Catalanotto on the disabled list, Cruz is still only starting part-time. He was 1-for-18 in his last five games going into Saturday's game. "I still think he's going to be a pretty good player," Washington said. "I'm just giving him a couple of days off. It's nothing anything against what he has been doing. We've all been there. I'm not blaming him. Yesterday I just wanted to get [Jerry] Hairston in there, and today I want to get [Victor] Diaz [some time]." He said it: "I just want to show them I'm back. I can be a big asset to this team and I want to show them that right away," -- Littleton, on being called up Friday's Minor stars: Top performances from Saturday's Minor League Games: Gold: Class A Clinton outfielder K.C. Herren was 4-for-5 with a double, triple and two RBIs in a 9-5 victory over Lansing. Silver: Triple-A Oklahoma Kevin Mahar, just promoted from Double-A Frisco, was 2-for-3 with two RBI in his first game with the RedHawks, a 5-4 victory over Omaha.
Bronze: German Duran, Travis Metcalf and Jim Fasano all had two hits for Frisco in a 6-4 victory over San Antonio. Briefly: Daniels said the Rangers may move Ezequiel Astacio from the bullpen to the rotation at Oklahoma. He has not allowed an earned run in 15 2/3 innings there and has struck out 20. ... Daniels said they have no set date on when they might move Double-A Frisco pitcher Eric Hurley up to Oklahoma. ...The Rangers game with the Yankees will be broadcast nationally by ESPN. It can still be seen locally on Fox Sports Net. ...Minor League pitcher Matt Merricks has been released.Up next: Right-hander Kameron Loe pitches against right-hander A.J. Burnett in the final of the three-game series against the Blue Jays at 2:05 p.m CT Sunday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The Rangers are 3-6 in day games this year but have won two of three at 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.