Millwood is entering his fourth season with the Rangers. He started off on the right track, going 16-12 with a 4.52 ERA in 34 starts and 215 innings in 2006. But he slipped to 10-14 with a 5.16 ERA in 31 starts and 172 2/3 innings in '07, and followed in '08 by going 9-10 with a 5.07 ERA in 29 starts and 168 2/3 innings.He went on the disabled list twice in 2007 with a strained left hamstring and twice more in '08 with a strained right groin muscle. That's why he's trying to renew his efforts to get in the best possible condition and lose some weight for next season. "I think it will help quite a bit, especially late in the game," Millwood said. "It should help me repeat my delivery more consistently and help me with the physical part of pitching. As long as something freaky doesn't happen, it should be a big part of me staying healthy." There is much on the line. Millwood needs to pitch at least 180 innings this year to automatically garner his $12 million salary for 2010. Millwood originally signed a five-year, $60 million contract with the Rangers three years ago. But the contract had a special clause that allowed the club to void the fifth year of the contract if Millwood did not pitch 540 innings from 2007-'09, 360 innings from '08-'09 or 180 innings in '09. Basically, it comes down to Millwood needing at least 180 innings next season to guarantee his fifth year. The Rangers could bring Millwood back even if he doesn't pitch 180 innings, but that would be difficult to imagine. "I'm doing everything I can to make sure it happens," Millwood said. "Getting in shape is part of it. The other part is going out and performing."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.