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Millwood expects shot to lock up $12M

ARLIINGTON, Texas -- Texas right-hander Kevin Millwood expects to make his scheduled start Monday night and have a chance to pitch the 4 1/3 innings needed to guarantee a $12 million contract next season.

The struggling starter last pitched Sept. 12, when he gave up five runs in 3 2/3 innings against Seattle. The Rangers then pushed back Millwood (10-10, 3.94 ERA) while they had him work on a mechanical flaw after going 2-5 with a 6.29 ERA his past 12 starts since July.

"I definitively had some time to work on some things," Millwood said after the Rangers' 10-5 loss Sunday to the Angels that ended a 2-7 homestand. "It's definitely been tough to sit back and watch here lately. I just want to get back out and pitch."

Millwood, who has to reach 180 innings to guarantee the fifth and final season of his contract with Texas, said he expected to pitch "unless they change their mind."

With the Rangers quickly fading in the AL playoff chase with two weeks left in the regular season, and the team up for sale, there have been questions about whether Millwood would get the chance to reach that even though he was so close.

Even Sunday, manager Ron Washington never definitively confirmed that Millwood would pitch Monday night in Oakland.

"I guess the only way he wouldn't would be if he was hurt," team president Nolan Ryan said before the game. "I talked to him [Saturday] and he said he felt fine. I would think he'd take his turn."

Ryan said Millwood not pitching was "really performance related" and not because of the contract clause.

"I'd like for it to be over with so you guys don't ask me about it any more," Millwood said.

Before his slide, Millwood was 8-5 with a 2.64 ERA his first 16 starts.

Millwood is 45-46 in 122 starts since signing with Texas after the 2005 season, when he was the league ERA leader in his only season with Cleveland. He spent two seasons in Philadelphia and six in Atlanta before that.

Pitching coach Mike Maddux said they have looked at video of what Millwood did in 2005, and worked on "posture more than anything."