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Blister to delay Lincecum's Cactus debut

MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers wanted Tim Lincecum to make his first Cactus League appearance on Friday night against the Padres, but that's not going to happen.

Lincecum has been scratched because of a blister on the middle finger of his right hand. The severity of the injury has not yet been determined but almost assures that Lincecum won't be ready for Opening Day.

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SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers wanted Tim Lincecum to make his first Cactus League appearance on Friday night against the Padres, but that's not going to happen.

Lincecum has been scratched because of a blister on the middle finger of his right hand. The severity of the injury has not yet been determined but almost assures that Lincecum won't be ready for Opening Day.

View Full Game Coverage

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Instead he could start the season on the disabled list, which would allow him to pitch in Minor League games on a rehab assignment once he is ready to pitch in games. Lincecum was signed on March 7 and has pitched only in the bullpen plus two live batting practice sessions since he arrived in camp.

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The Rangers are also getting concerned that reliever Tony Barnette won't be ready for Opening Day. He has tightness in his lower back and hasn't pitched in a game since March 13.

"As we sit right now, it would be challenging for him to start the season," manager Jeff Banister said.

Barnette's injury could open the way for veteran right-hander Kevin Jepsen to make the team as a reliever. Jepsen is in camp on a Minor League contract and has allowed just one run in 9 1/3 innings.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

Texas Rangers, Tim Lincecum