Mendoza to start season on DL

Mendoza to start season on DL

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Rangers fifth starter Luis Mendoza is going to begin the season on the disabled list because of a blister on his right middle finger, but is still expected to be ready to pitch on April 12.

The problem came up in his last start against the Giants on Sunday and again in a bullpen session on Wednesday.

The Rangers don't believe the problem is serious, they just don't want to push him right now. The Rangers have two days off in the first two weeks of the season and don't need a fifth starter until April 12 against the Blue Jays.

Mendoza will start the season on the disabled list and should be able to pitch at least one game on medical rehabilitation at Triple-A Oklahoma on April 7.

"We don't expect it to be an issue after a week or so," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "He certainly deserves to make the team ... but we're just going to DL him and let it quiet down. Barring anything unforeseen, he should make his rehab start and be on line to start April 12."

The move leaves the Rangers with a four-man rotation of Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla, Jason Jennings and Kason Gabbard.

Millwood pitched six innings in a Minor League game on Tuesday, throwing 82 pitches, and is set to pitch on Opening Day against the Mariners on Monday, March 31, in Seattle.

Padilla made his last start of the spring on Wednesday, allowing five runs on 10 hits in six innings. He gave up home runs to Jake Peavy and Brian Giles in a four-run third inning and finished the spring with a 3.07 ERA. He is scheduled to start on Tuesday, April 1, against the Mariners.

"He was outstanding," manager Ron Washington said. "He got some balls up in the third inning and they didn't miss it, but after that he put up zeros."

Jennings, the Rangers No. 3 starter, is scheduled to make his last Cactus League start on Thursday against the Royals. His first regular season start will be on Wednesday, April 2, against the Mariners and he is also scheduled to pitch the Rangers' home opener on April 8 against the Orioles.

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