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Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Five Rangers have flu-like symptoms

Associated Press

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas general manager Jon Daniels was avoiding shaking hands with anyone Wednesday, wary of a nasty flu bug making its way through the Rangers' clubhouse.

Texas put closer Frank Francisco on the disabled list Monday with a mild case of pneumonia and had at least four other players with the flu or flu-like symptoms two days later.

Right-hander Vicente Padilla was scratched from Wednesday night's start against Boston and was home with the flu. Reliever Eddie Guardado had enough symptoms that he also was told to stay away from the ballpark.

David Murphy wasn't feeling well but didn't have a fever and remained in Wednesday's lineup, though the Rangers switched him to designated hitter instead of left field as originally listed.

All-Star outfielder Nelson Cruz, who had missed the last three games because of a broken right ring finger, played right field instead of being the DH and Marlon Byrd switched from right to left.

Shortstop Omar Vizquel still had flu-like symptoms a night after being scratched from the starting lineup, but the Rangers said he was available.

"It is concerning but the guys that really have it deep, they're not at the ballpark," said manager Ron Washington, who was dealing with a scratchy throat. "What we have around here today is symptoms. We're fighting that. We have to hope it doesn't get too much more than that."

The Rangers, who are off Thursday, pushed their scheduled flight to Kansas City to Friday, planning now to arrive on the same day as the start of the weekend series.

"Just from the standpoint that it keeps the guys separated," Daniels said. "It gives healthy guys time away from the sick guys and gives the sick guys one extra night in their own bed before they hit the road."

During a team meeting Wednesday, trainer Jamie Reed talked to the players about prevention, telling them to have minimal personal contact and avoid shaking hands. Clubhouse workers were taking extra precautions wiping things down with disinfectants.

"We're just trying to get everyone healthy, take every precaution we can," Daniels said.

Daniels said other guys may have some issues, such as a dry throat, but nobody else had been "diagnosed with the most likely symptoms."

Padilla (7-5) was replaced on the mound by right-hander Dustin Nippert (1-0), who made relief appearances Saturday and Sunday. Nippert made two starts before that, going only 3 2-3 innings in both of those.

Washington said he wasn't sure when Padilla would pitch again.

The first player to get sick was Francisco, who started feeling ill Saturday. Since he was unavailable and hadn't pitched since before the All-Star break, the Rangers put him on the DL retroactive to July 11. He will be eligible to be reinstated Sunday.