Millwood's Thursday start in doubt

Millwood's Thursday start in doubt

SEATTLE -- Mariners right-hander Kevin Millwood played catch in the outfield prior to Tuesday's game against the Padres, but manager Eric Wedge said no decision has been made as to whether he'll start Thursday as scheduled.

Millwood has been recovering from a slightly pulled right groin muscle since pitching six innings during the Mariners' combined no-hitter on Friday against the Dodgers. Wedge said the 37-year-old "should be able to start this week," but is leaving open what day that might be.

At this point, Jason Vargas is slated to go Friday against the Giants and Blake Beavan will face them Saturday, both on an extra day of rest because of Monday's off-day. But if Millwood isn't ready, the Mariners can slide both those starters up one day and still pitch them on normal rest.

"We've got a couple different options, so we're not deciding anything just yet," Wedge said. "We can push Kevin back as far as Saturday, so we'll see. He felt really good playing catch today. He'll throw some flat ground tomorrow. So I think tomorrow we'll know a lot more."

The options diminish by Saturday because at that point, Felix Hernandez would be next in line and he'd need to pitch on just three days' rest, which isn't going to happen as he comes off an extended layoff with a sore back.

The other options would be using long reliever Hisashi Iwakuma for a spot start or bringing rookie Erasmo Ramirez up from Triple-A Tacoma, but Wedge sounded as if he doesn't expect either of those plans will be employed at this point.