Rangers’ Padilla tests positive for swine flu

Texas Rangers pitcher Vicente Padilla tested positive for swine flu, though his symptoms are subsiding and he’s expected to make his next start.

Padilla was scratched from his start Wednesday against Boston due to flu-like symptoms, and lab reports Friday indicated he had H1N1 influenza A. He is thought to be the first athlete in U.S. major pro sports to be diagnosed with swine flu.

“He was as surprised as anyone when we told him this was the case,” Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine said. “From everything we’ve been told, this is certainly a different strain of the normal flu and by nature might be deemed more serious, but you really wouldn’t treat it any differently.”

Several Rangers players have been hit with the flu this week, including Eddie Guardado, Omar Vizquel and David Murphy. Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia was scratched from Friday night’s game against Kansas City because of the flu.

The team held a meeting Wednesday advising everyone to take necessary hygiene precautions, and the Rangers’ flight to Kansas City was delayed until Friday morning in order to provide additional recovery time. Cultures have been sent away to determine if any other players have swine flu.

“Without speculating, I think it is reasonable to expect that we may find some of our other guys have it,” Levine said. “We’ve been medicating our players. We would use the same medication and the same kind program to rehabilitate them and they’ve all shown improvement. Those are the positive signs.”

Triple-A team down with flu

The San Diego Padres’ Triple-A affiliate in Portland postponed a trip to Utah because of a flu outbreak that has affected seven players.

The Pacific Coast League says the Beavers asked to postpone Friday’s game at Salt Lake because of the influenza A virus that has sickened several members of the club.

The PCL says no player has been hospitalized and the Beavers hoped to be able to travel in time for tonight’s scheduled game at Utah.

Short hops

The Boston Red Sox have designated utilityman Mark Kotsay for assignment to make room on the roster for Adam LaRoche. The Red Sox acquired LaRoche from Pittsburgh on Wednesday in a trade that sent shortstop Argenis Diaz and right-hander Hunter Strickland to the Pirates. … Texas left-hander Matt Harrison will likely need surgery to remove a rib and alleviate pain in his shoulder. … The Cubs have scratched Ted Lilly from his start today against Cincinnati because of shoulder soreness. Chicago’s only All-Star this season is 9-7 with a 3.59 ERA. He allowed nine runs in four innings in Monday’s 10-1 loss at Philadelphia. … The Reds have activated shortstop Alex Gonzalez from the 15-day disabled list and optioned infielder Drew Sutton to Triple-A Louisville.