Swine Flu spreading to MLB? Rangers Pitcher tests positive. Details inside->?
Padilla expects to pitch through swine flu
Ailing Rangers await results to see if others are afflicted
KANSAS CITY -- Rangers pitcher Vicente Padilla has been diagnosed with swine flu but is still expected to start on Tuesday against the Tigers.
Padilla was scratched from his scheduled start on Wednesday against the Red Sox because of the flu. The Rangers sent a culture to the laboratory for testing and the results returned on Friday indicated a positive test for H1N1 Type A influenza. The Rangers are waiting on tests of other players to see if they are dealing with what is commonly known as swine flu.
Padilla, reporting significant improvement, was back with the Rangers on Friday and worked out with them before their game against the Royals. He threw in the bullpen and did some running in the outfield. He is still scheduled to start on Tuesday against the Tigers at the Ballpark in Arlington.
"He will as long as his symptoms continue to subside," Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine said. "He was surprised as anybody about this."
The Rangers did send him back to the hotel on Friday rather than have him watch the game from the dugout and be around other players. The Rangers have had several players hit by the flu this week, including pitchers Eddie Guardado, Willie Eyre and Kevin Millwood, shortstop Omar Vizquel and outfielder David Murphy.
"We have submitted cultures to the Health Department," Levine said. "This is the only guy we have information on, but it's reasonable to expect other guys to have it."
Levine said the Rangers are dealing with the possibility of swine flu in the same way they would any other type of flu. All team personnel who experience symptoms are being given medication including Tamiflu. The team had a meeting on Wednesday to advise players on the necessary precautions.
"All our players are showing improvement and that's encouraging," Levine said. "We are effectively taking all the proper precautions. Unfortunately we have one player with the label, and that makes it sound more dire."
Millwood, whose symptoms have been mild, said he is better and expects to make his start on Sunday against the Royals. The Rangers are still waiting to see if that's the case.
"We'll wait and see how he feels tomorrow," manager Ron Washington said. "If not, we'll try to figure something out again."
Eyre had a 102-degree fever on Wednesday but is feeling better and ready to pitch on Friday if needed out of the bullpen. Guardado, who seemed the worst of anybody, was back with the team on Friday but still weak. He had to miss both Tuesday and Wednesday against the Red Sox because he was bed-ridden with the flu.
"I've never missed a game in my career being sick," Guardado said. "I was pretty bad. ... I've never been that bad."
Murphy said he is better but still being used at designated hitter.
"I'm still slightly fatigued but a lot better than the other day," Murphy said. "The other day I wanted to take a nap between my at-bats. I still have a cough, but overall I wouldn't consider it severe. I've been a lot worse."
The Rangers' most severe sickness still belongs to closer Frank Francisco, who is on the disabled list with walking pneumonia. He is eligible to be activated on Sunday but that isn't going to happen.
"No way," Washington said. "He just got out of bed. It's going to take time to get his strength back. He's not going to get it back in two days. We'll see how he progresses with his stamina