BALTIMORE -- The Rangers are returning to the Ballpark in Arlington on Friday night. The Angels will be waiting for them, and so will C.J. Wilson.Wilson, the Texas Pitcher of the Year over the past two seasons, will be on the mound against his former teammates in the first of a three-game series. "It will be fun, a chance to face somebody you know, but other than that it's just another game," second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "C.J. did really well for us for a number of years," infielder Michael Young said. "He helped us get to two World Series and was a big part of the team. He's a big boost to the Angels. But once the game begins, it will be business as usual. We're going to try and execute and do whatever we can to win the ballgame." Wilson, who is 4-2 with a 2.61 ERA in six starts, was drafted by the Rangers and pitched for the club from 2005-11 before signing with the Angels as a free agent. Manager Ron Washington said the Rangers have faced Wilson before, but that was only in intrasquad games during early Spring Training. "If you know C.J., whether it's an intrasquad game, regular-season game or tiddly-winks, he's trying to beat you," Washington said. "That's C.J. He's at his best no matter what the competition. I hope we're at our best." This is the first meeting between the two teams that have split the last four American League West crowns.
This season, the Rangers have been in first place for the last 31 days while the Angels have been lagging in last place. The Rangers aren't counting on that to continue."We know they're not playing their best baseball, although they have played all right recently," outfielder David Murphy said. "As a whole they haven't shown what they are capable of doing, but we also know they are going to play a lot better than this. We don't need to worry about that, we just need to try and win ballgames."
Beltre returns to hot corner for Game 1
BALTIMORE -- Adrian Beltre, still dealing with a sore left hamstring, started at third base for the Rangers in Game 1 of their doubleheader against the Orioles on Thursday. It was the first time Beltre started at third base since April 29 against the Rays.Manager Ron Washington said Beltre had been ready to play third base since Monday, but the Rangers have been dealing with cold and wet weather for the first three days in Baltimore, and Washington didn't want Beltre playing in those conditions. Texas was rained out on Wednesday, but the weather on Thursday was cool and sunny. "I just want his bat in the lineup and his body in the lineup," Washington said. "If there are any adjustments we have to make after Game 1, we'll make them." Washington said the plan was for Beltre to start at designated hitter in Game 2. The plan is also for Beltre to continue to be careful, especially running the bases. The Rangers don't expect Beltre to be going full-out or trying to stretch out the hamstring while running full speed on the bases. "I'm going to be doing that for a while, so you better get used to it," Beltre said. "I haven't forced it yet and I don't want to force it yet. I want to stay on the field and stay in the lineup. That's why I'm being extra careful. Right now I still feel it, and I don't want to blow it out ... be smart, don't be stupid. Some days it's going to be really sore. I just have to give it time."
Feldman available out of 'pen for twin bill
BALTIMORE -- Scott Feldman was in the Rangers' bullpen for Thursday's doubleheader, and he will also be available for at least the first couple of games of this weekend's series against the Angels.
If Feldman is not needed or used sparingly, he will start on Monday against the Royals. But the Rangers still want him to be ready out of the bullpen for the next few days."We've got to try and win," manager Ron Washington said. "If he can help us win, we're not going to hold him back. When we're home, we'll do whatever is necessary." The Rangers need a sixth starter for Monday's game because Colby Lewis and Derek Holland had to start Thursday's doubleheader against the Orioles. Texas doesn't want to bring back either one on three days' rest. This would be Feldman's second spot start of the season. He started against the Yankees on April 25 and allowed two runs in 3 1/3 innings. The Rangers ended up winning, 7-3, and Feldman has pitched just three times since then. The right-hander is a long reliever for a rotation that is averaging over six innings per start. Only twice in 30 games has a Texas starter pitched less than five innings in an outing, and one of those was Feldman. His five appearances out of the bullpen are the fewest of the Rangers' seven relievers. "On a personal level, it is tough but it is a team game," Feldman said. "The tough part is trying to stay sharp. I felt when I was coming out of Spring Training, I felt I was as good as I've ever been, as far as being sharp and confidence in all my pitches. It's tough trying to keep that going through bullpen sessions and the occasional inning."
Darvish back in Texas in advance of Friday start
BALTIMORE -- The Rangers were looking at arriving back in Texas in the early morning hours once they were finished with their doubleheader against the Orioles. That's why Yu Darvish flew back to Texas on Thursday afternoon.The Rangers wanted Darvish fully rested for his start against the Angels on Friday night. Matt Harrison, who will pitch on Saturday afternoon, remained in Baltimore just in case. Manager Ron Washington wanted Harrison available in an emergency for the doubleheader, just in case the Rangers ran out of pitching. The chances of Harrison of actually pitching on Thursday are slight, but Washington was taking no chances. The Red Sox and the Orioles played 17 innings on Sunday, and both ended up using position players to pitch. "You have to be ready for anything," Washington said.
The Rangers' three-game weekend series with the Angels is a complete sellout, with only standing room and obstructed-view seats remaining. The Rangers will wear 1974 uniforms on Saturday for the first of four Turn-Back-the-Clock Days to celebrate the club's 40th anniversary in Arlington. Triple-A Round Rock infielder Yangervis Solarte had a 20-game hitting streak entering Thursday, while Double-A Frisco infielder Jurickson Profar has hit in 19 straight.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.