Texas Rangers Reveal Opening Day Starter
By Andrew Webb
Rangers manager Jeff Banister has named the Opening Day starter for April 3 against the Cleveland Indians. This pitcher will receive his first career Opening Day start, can you guess who it is?
If you haven’t already figured it out the Texas Rangers will start Yu Darvish on Opening Day in Arlington. This will be Darvish’s first start on Opening Day, but he did it five times while with the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan.
According to T.R. Sullivan, Darvish is the ninth different Opening Day starter for the Rangers in the past nine years. Well, let’s hope it’s the first of many as Darvish is entering a contract year this season.
T.R. Sullivan caught up with Rangers manager about naming Darvish the Opening Day starter. “We feel he is in a great place,” Banister said. “We feel we have one of the best pitchers in baseball leading off our rotation. He is poised to have a great year.”
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Cole Hamels was the Rangers Opening Day starter last season, but will now start second behind Darvish. It’s a bit strange to not see Hamels get the nod after an All-Star campaign last season, but he’s not too upset about it.
“Darvish is our Opening Day starter, and he’ll carry the baton for us,” Hamels said. “We feel fortunate that we have 1A and 1B … and we have a left-hander [Perez] who is closing the gap.”
This spring Darvish has started four games, posting a 2.84 ERA in 12.2 innings with 17 strikeouts. He’s allowed just one home run and looks like he’s back healthy and ready to lead the Rangers rotation.
Last season Darvish went 7-5 with a 3.41 ERA in 17 starts. He’s looking to come back to his first full season since having Tommy John surgery in 2015. Rangers manager Jeff Banister talked with T.R. Sullivan, and it sounds like Banister believes Darvish is back.
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“No. 1 was overall health,” Banister said. “Not only with the arm, but the body, how he rebounded from his rehab and the number of starts and innings last year. Secondly, what kind of shape he was in. He’s in great shape. Mentally … the laser-sharp focus. He wants to be the best pitcher on the planet. He has rebounded from every bullpen session and every outing. He is healthy and ready to go.