SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers president Nolan Ryan stopped by Brandon McCarthy's bullpen session on Tuesday to tutor him on his curveball. McCarthy acknowledged it felt weird. "It's Nolan Ryan trying to teach you how to throw a curveball," McCarthy said. That's [like] Tiger Woods going up to someone on the range and trying to teach you how to hit your wedge shot. It's definitely a cool experience. It's also a lot of advice that I can really take to heart and work on.
"We're working on snapping that curveball harder and getting it so where it's not so easy to pick up out of my hand. He was working with me on that." Did Hall of Famer Ryan instruct McCarthy on how to throw a 100-mph fastball, which helped make him the all-time strikeout leader? "I don't know if that's one you can teach," McCarthy said. "If he's got that advice somewhere, I'd love to hear that." A tender right elbow has kept McCarthy out of early Spring Training games, but he said "everything felt great" after throwing. He is scheduled to start on Friday against the Brewers. "I threw a lot of curveballs and threw them hard and it felt fine," he said. Millwood to throw: Kevin Millwood, who is penciled in as the Rangers Opening Day starter, is scheduled to throw a two-inning simulated game on Wednesday. Millwood, who has been sidelined with a sore hamstring, will pitch, but not field his position. Millwood said he is not sure how his sore hamstring would feel when he has to retrieve bunts or cover first base. "I haven't tried it," he said. "It feels better, but there are still certain things I do when I feel it, when there's an ache." John Mayberry Jr., Julio Borbon, German Duran, Brandon Boggs and Max Ramirez will hit off Milwood. The Rangers are hopeful Millwood could start on Monday against the Padres. Pitchers struggle early: Kason Gabbard and Kameron Loe, the first two Rangers pitchers to face the D-backs on Tuesday, combined to give up nine runs, eight earned, on nine hits, three of them home runs, two walks and a hit batter in the 9-3 loss. Gabbard yielded four runs on four hits, including a two-run Justin Upton homer, in the first inning. He was removed after Mark Reynolds singled to lead off the third. "It wasn't my day," Gabbard said. "I thought I made some good pitches and some of the balls fell in. I think one of the only bad pitches I made was to Upton, but it was a 2-0 [count] and I was trying to challenge him. Its Spring Training and we're working on stuff. Obviously, you want to go out there and do your best, but it's baseball."
Alan Eskew is a contributor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.