SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) Sammy Sosa and No. 1 starter Kevin Millwood will play in a "B" game Friday for the Texas Rangers instead of the Cactus League opener.
Sosa and Millwood will be on a back field facing a team of lesser-known players from the Kansas City Royals, the other club that uses the complex, instead of the spring opener in the main stadium.
Millwood requested the "B" game assignment and is expected to throw one inning. Rangers manager Ron Washington wants Sosa in that game so he can get extra work. The 38-year-old former slugger is trying a comeback with his original team.
"He's not in there to get just two at-bats," Washington said.
In "B" games, there is the flexibility for Sosa to get additional at-bats. Washington didn't say if Sosa would be the designated hitter or play the outfield in the eight-inning game.
Washington plans for Sosa to play in the regular game Saturday when the Rangers play the Royals again. Sosa, who last played in the major leagues for the Baltimore Orioles in 2005 and is fifth on the career list with 588 home runs, has said he will do whatever Washington wants.
Ready to break up the monotony of spring training, Millwood approached pitching coach Mark Connor about altering the daily grind of drills.
"I told them I wanted to pitch," Millwood said Tuesday. "Spring training gets boring, and I feel I'm ready to go. Why not get into a game now?"
Millwood was bothered last week by a sore calf but has thrown without any problems this week.
By pitching in a "B" game Friday, Millwood will be 11 days ahead of schedule from last spring, when he didn't face opposing hitters from a different team until a "B" game on March 13. He pitched two simulated games before that.
Millwood is in the second year of a $60 million, five-year
Kameron Loe, John Koronka and Edinson Volquez, about half the candidates for the No. 5 spot in the rotation, are expected to pitch in the main game Friday. Loe is scheduled to start.
Among the pitchers expected to throw after Millwood in the "B" game are right-hander Frank Francisco, the hard-throwing reliever still recovering from elbow surgery, and 2004 first-round pick Eric Hurley.