ARLINGTON -- It's early, but the Rangers entered play Wednesday with a sparkling team ERA of 3.00, the third-lowest mark in the American League. Not bad for a staff that had a ton of question marks after C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis and All-Star closer Neftali Feliz.
While Matt Harrison, Derek Holland and Alexi Ogando have gotten much of the acclaim, catchers Yorvit Torrealba and Mike Napoli, and what they've done with a group of pitchers they are still learning, cannot be forgotten.
Torrealba has come over from the National League, and has only had Spring Training to get used to his own pitchers and AL hitters. Napoli, of course, has more familiarity, having played his entire career for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
"So far, so good," Torrealba said. "Obviously, they have done well. Mike, he has the experience being in the American League. For me, it's watching a lot of tape and getting a good idea of what guys can do."
Young looks right at home at first base
ARLINGTON -- Michael Young looked right at home in his first Major League start at first base on Tuesday night, making a diving catch against Seattle's Adam Kennedy look easy for the first out of the ninth inning.
"That was awesome," manager Ron Washington said. "Kennedy is dangerous, and it was good to take him out."
Young also handled all the throws from his teammates, raising up on one high throw from shortstop Elvis Andrus and getting his foot back on the bag in time for the out.
"It was fun over there," Young said. "There were a lot of ground balls, but to everyone else. My instincts over there are starting to kick in and I'm starting to get a little more reactionary."
Oliver finding form after Opening Day hiccup
ARLINGTON -- Darren Oliver continued his rebound from allowing a game-tying home run to Boston's David Ortiz on Opening Day, needing just five pitches for a perfect eighth inning in Tuesday's 3-2 victory over Seattle.
Oliver did allow an inherited runner to score in relief of Mark Lowe in the seventh, but it was important that he held a one-run lead until the ninth inning for closer Neftali Feliz. Oliver did it by throwing strikes and letting the Seattle hitters put the ball in play.
"That's most of it," Oliver said. "That's what you have to do."
The Rangers' bullpen, a question mark heading into the opening week of the season, has a 3.77 ERA, sixth best in the American League. Oliver actually credits the starting pitchers for that -- they have averaged just over six innings per start.
"It all begins with the starting pitching," Oliver said.
Wilson to host third annual bowling charity event
ARLINGTON -- C.J. Wilson's successful Children's Charities will host its third annual "Strike Out" bowling tournament to benefit the patients of Cook's Children's in Fort Worth, Texas, on Thursday, April 21.
The event will take place from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. CT at the Splitsville Luxury Lanes and Dinner Lounge, on 401 Curtis Mathes Way in the Arlington Highlands Shopping Center at Interstate 20 and Matlock.
The evening's festivities will include dining, bowling, prizes for top bowling scores, dancing to the sounds of Wilson mixing music up in the DJ booth, and a raffle.
"The main things we try to share at our events are fun, being comfortable and accessibility," Wilson said. "I'm always surprised at how much fun I have hosting the events. I hope that we get another great turnout from fans and friends to support our efforts."
A $25 donation allows entry into the event and includes one game of bowling and shoe rental. For more information and to send an email with any questions, see Wilson's web site (www.leftylefty.com) and click on the charity tab.
Rangers close to signing Cuban player Martin
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are close to signing center fielder and Cuban defector Leonys Martin to a Major League contract, team sources said Wednesday, though a deal is not expected to be finalized this week. Martin, 22, would start out in the Minor Leagues.
The Rangers have been aggressive in getting talent from all over the globe, and Martin would be a major signing out of Cuba. The club signed one-time Cuban defector Jose Ruiz in the offseason, and the first baseman is playing for Double-A Frisco after spending last season in the Tampa Bay organization.
The Rangers also need more quality position players in the system, and they like athletes, speed and defense in the middle of the field -- see current Rangers Elvis Andrus and Julio Borbon, and Minor Leaguers Engel Beltre and Jurickson Profar -- and Martin fits that mold.
The left-handed-hitting Martin left Cuba after playing for the country's national team.
The Rangers have drawn five straight crowds of 30,000-plus to begin the season, the longest such streak since 2001. The club's average is third highest in the Major Leagues among teams that have played more than one home game. ... According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Rangers are the fifth Major League team since 1945 to start a season 5-0 after playing in the World Series, joining the 1970 Orioles, 1985 Tigers, 1998 Indians and 2003 Giants. ... Right-handed pitcher Tanner Scheppers (back) is starting the Triple-A season on Round Rock's disabled list. Scheppers has been cleared for all baseball activities, but the Rangers are being cautious with him.
Todd Wills is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.