ARLINGTON -- Rangers catcher Mike Napoli entered Monday off to a 1-for-7 start and was batting eighth in the lineup for the second time in the first week of the season.Napoli, who hit sixth during his postseason tear last season, may be off to a slow start, but that's not why he's batting eighth, manager Ron Washington said before Monday's game against Seattle. Napoli is hitting there to break up the left-handed hitters at the bottom of the lineup, David Murphy and Mitch Moreland. Washington pointed out that Napoli is among several Rangers who haven't heated up in what is a small sampling of at-bats. Shortstop Elvis Andrus (1-for-12), third baseman Adrian Beltre (2-for-11) and outfielder Nelson Cruz (1-for-10) all had sub-par first series at the plate. Washington isn't worried about any of them -- he said it takes 100 at-bats to get a good idea. And Napoli did drive in a run with his one hit. "It's early," Washington said. "He has seven at-bats? He'll get happy with it. It may not be right now, but he'll get happy with it."
Yu's debut adds to Rangers' unusual week
ARLINGTON -- Yu Darvish makes his Major League debut on Monday night, and it was chronicled by over 200 members of the media. It has been that kind of a weekend for the Rangers, and infielder Michael Young said the team has not yet settled into a regular-season routine."It's just natural stuff," Young said. "You had Opening Day on Friday, the ring ceremony on Saturday and the rain delay [that wiped out batting practice] on Sunday," Young said. "It will be nice to get settled into the season and get settled into a routine. It probably takes a week and a half to two weeks to get going. But at the same time, we still have a couple of days left on this homestand. We still want to go out and play well." The Rangers, beginning Monday, have a four-game series with the Mariners before heading out for their first road trip of the season. They have a three-game series with the Twins that starts on Friday at Target Field. Young said the intense media interest surrounding Darvish's first start was not a distraction for the Rangers. "This doesn't matter one bit," Young said. "We're excited to have Yu on our team. His first start is a big deal, and it should be. He had a great deal of success in Japan, and we're happy he's here. It should be a big deal."
Feldman next up in bullpen
ARLINGTON -- Mark Lowe, Robbie Ross and Koji Uehara all made their debuts out of the bullpen Sunday against the White Sox, combining for three shutout innings.Next up -- long man Scott Feldman. Manager Ron Washington said he will not wait for a long relief situation to get Feldman into a game. He is the only member of the bullpen that hasn't seen the mound to start the season. "When we get an opportunity, we're certainly going to get him out there," Washington said. Lowe and Uehara each gave up hits in their first appearances, but also had strikeouts. Washington said neither pitcher had anything to prove out of Spring Training. Lowe had a 4.00 spring ERA, while Uehara struggled to a 10.61 mark. "They have track records," Washington said. "Before Mark Lowe hurt his back, he was pretty good out of the bullpen. It was important they pitched well because we needed them to pitch well, not that they needed to prove anything. They don't need to prove anything other than they can go out there and get outs."
There were 24 players on Opening Day rosters across the Majors who were drafted by the Rangers. That's the most of any club. Ichiro Suzuki went into Monday's game with 284 career hits against the Rangers. That's seven short of the most by an opponent. Hall of Famer George Brett had 291. Matt Harrison, after six scoreless innings on Sunday night, has a career ERA of 2.91 against the White Sox. That's the third-lowest by a Rangers pitcher with at least six starts against the White Sox. Jon Matlack had a 2.67 ERA and Bert Blyleven had a 2.68.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. Todd Wills is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.