Notes: Millwood has trouble in wind

Notes: Millwood has trouble in wind

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The weather service said winds were gusting up to 41 miles per hour at Surprise Stadium on Monday.

Padres pitcher and fanatical golfer Greg Maddux called it a "four-club wind."

Rangers pitcher Kevin Millwood only knew he didn't like pitching in it.

"It was blowing pretty good," Millwood said. "I didn't feel it that much, I just felt the effects of it."

No Rangers pitcher was spared but Millwood took the worst of it, giving up 10 runs in 4 2/3 innings in a 24-7 loss to the San Diego Padres on Tuesday. He allowed 12 hits and two walks.

"I'm not really worried about it," Millwood said. "Every time I made a mistake, they hit it hard and that normally doesn't happen. I still feel pretty good about the spring. I feel good physically and about where I'm at this spring. I felt I pitched pretty well all spring up to today."

Maddux handled the wind and allowed just two runs in six innings, but still came to the defense of his former Atlanta Braves teammate.

"It was a tough place to pitch," Maddux said. "Kevin's fine. The ball was coming out of his hand good."

Millwood will not pitch again in Arizona. His next start is Opening Day on Monday against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

"It was just one of those days," manager Ron Washington said. "I don't care how good you are, there are those days where you go out there and it's not going to work. There's not much you can do with this one. You chalk it up as a tail-whipping they put on us."

Gagne struggles too: Closer Eric Gagne gave up four runs in his inning of work, his third exhibition outing of the spring. He is scheduled to pitch on Thursday and again on Saturday.

Washington said he's confident Gagne will be ready to be his closer on Opening Day.

"Yes, without a doubt," Washington said. "He's healthy. I've seen better stuff than he's shown today, but he's healthy. He's the closer. I'm not going to take the ball away from him."

The one thing the Rangers do know is Gagne is unlikely to be ready to pitch back-to-back games once the regular season starts.

"I like his progress," pitching coach Mark Connor said. "I just wish we had a week or 10 days more so we could get him back-to-back games. We'll just have to be prudent how we use him for the first three or four weeks. Eric wants to pitch every day, but we have to make a judgment on whether it's the right thing."

That's why the Rangers never had any interest in trading Akinori Otsuka, who has enjoyed an excellent spring. He is 2-0 with a 2.57 ERA in seven appearances and opponents are hitting .200 off him.

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"The guy is awesome," Connor said. "He has had a great spring. We came into camp with the idea of working on his fastball and he's done it. He's getting it down in the zone and then bringing it back upstairs and blowing it by people. He has been doing it all spring."

Sosa misses again: Sammy Sosa was sidelined for the second straight game because of the stomach flu. He came in to see the doctor and was sent back home.

Sosa is expected to be back in uniform on Wednesday, but Washington said he's not sure if he'll be in the lineup. If not, it will be the fourth straight game he has missed. He did not make the trip to Tucson on Sunday.

"We'll watch and see how he does in batting practice," Washington said. "That stomach virus will weaken you. I'd like to get him out there as soon as I can. I have concerns when starters start missing games down the stretch."

Rules of the team: Washington met with his players on Tuesday to go over the team rules for the year. Most of the rules are standard, including a curfew on the road and dress code for the team charter flights.

But the meeting ultimately expanded into players themselves talking about the upcoming season and what they needed to accomplish.

"It was really good," Washington said. "It was all about attitude and being committed and everyone giving effort and being respectful of each other. Whatever it takes and leave it on the field."

First baseman Mark Teixeira was first and foremost among the many players who spoke up.

"We wanted to make sure everybody understands what's expected of us," Teixeira said. "It all comes back to respecting the game and respecting each other."

He said it: "I was talking to a player's agent. I said, 'I don't believe this, I'll have to call you back.'" General manager Jon Daniels, who was pulled over for speeding coming to work

Briefly: There is one spot open in the bullpen with Wes Littleton, Frank Francisco, Scott Feldman and Mike Wood competing for it. Washington said Feldman has pitched the best of them this spring. ... Shortstop Michael Young was scheduled to get the last of his sutures out of his left ear on Tuesday.

Up next: Vicente Padilla pitches for the Rangers against the Seattle Mariners at 3:05 p.m. CT on Wednesday in Peoria. Felix Hernandez pitches for the Mariners. Francisco is also scheduled to pitch for the Rangers. They want to see him go back to back on Wednesday and Thursday.

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