04/05/12 7:40 PM ET
Murphy, Cruz in, but Moreland out of lineup
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
The White Sox are starting left-hander John Danks, and Washington said he wanted as many right-handed hitters in the lineup as possible.So Washington said Yorvit Torrealba will catch, Mike Napoli will play first and Michael Young will be at designated hitter. Moreland is a career .229 hitter against left-handers with one home run and 13 RBIs in 131 at-bats. That includes 2-for-6 against Danks. "He'll be in there the next day and he'll be in there a lot against left-handers," Washington said. "I'm more than certain that Moreland is going to be disappointed. I'll give him my explanation and I'll also tell him he's going to play in a lot of games for us." David Murphy, who hits left-handed, will start in left field against Danks. It will be his first start on Opening Day since 2008. Washington said he expects Nelson Cruz to be ready to play right field. He was hit by a pitch in the left elbow on Tuesday night and reliever Mike Adams was hit by a line drive in the left calf. But both are expected to be ready on Opening Day. "Nelson is ready to go," Washington said. "He'll probably have a little stiffness but it won't keep him out of the lineup. Adams will be ready to go, too."
Eventful winter in past for focused Hamilton
ARLINGTON -- Josh Hamilton is ready for Opening Day. He is healthy, he is in center field, he is working to put his personal life in order and he is not fretting about his contract. His turbulent offseason is behind him."I feel good ... I'm excited about it," Hamilton said. "Am I mentally focused? Yeah, I am. But I don't think I had a lot of stuff on my mind to begin with." There are certainly things he has had to address since the end of last season, first with his relapse in his recovery from substance abuse at the end of January, his contract and impending free agency, his physical health and what position he would be playing on Opening Day. All of that seems finally put to rest as Hamilton gets ready to bat third and play center field for the Rangers on Friday against the White Sox at 1:05 p.m. CT. As far as his personal issues, Hamilton said, "That's something that I have to deal with all the time. It's part of my life. It's not like that was something new that popped up in my mind. It's something I understand that I always have to deal with." The relapse probably kept the Rangers from seriously pursuing a long-term contract extension with Hamilton in the spring. There were some conversations but they never seemed to get serious, at least publicly. So Hamilton enters the season prepared for the possibility of being a free agent at the end of the year. "I'll be where I'm supposed to be," Hamilton said. "I'll just keep doing what I've always done: playing the best I can and help my team win. That's my focus right now."
Extension talks ongoing for Kinsler, Rangers
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers continue to negotiate a long-term contract extension with second baseman Ian Kinsler. The deadline, as imposed by Kinsler, is on Friday. Kinsler did allow that if there was a framework for an agreement in place, he would be willing to keep the discussions open through the homestand."I just don't want to talk about it after Opening Day," Kinsler said. "I don't want to be driving home from the ballpark talking about contracts. It's an added distraction. Whether it affects me or not, it's no reason to be here." The Rangers have been discussing a six-year deal with Kinsler's agent Jay Hamilton. There is still work to be done before a deal can be reached, if it can be reached at all. Kinsler was non-committal as to whether he thinks a deal will get done. "I'm in the same situation I've been in the last two weeks," Kinsler said.
Feliz throws 'extremely well' in simulated game
ARLINGTON -- Rangers pitcher Neftali Feliz threw 102 pitches in a simulated game at the Ballpark in Arlington on Thursday morning. He faced Craig Gentry and Alberto Gonzalez as the hitters while Brandon Snyder was his catcher."Everything went well," Feliz said. "I feel strong. Everything was good. I tried to keep the ball down and I did it." Feliz, who experienced some tightness in his right shoulder midway through Spring Training, is scheduled to make his first start on Tuesday against the Mariners. Feliz is the only Rangers pitcher to throw more than 100 pitches in an outing this spring. The unofficial line was one run on five hits with two walks and five strikeouts. "He did extremely well," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He did extremely well. He didn't break a sweat, used all his pitches and threw them all for strikes."
Michael Young will tie Ivan Rodriguez's club record with 11 consecutive Opening Days starts when he takes the field on Friday. Matt Harrison is on the Opening Day roster for the fourth straight year. He is the only Rangers pitcher who can make that claim. Yoshinori Tateyama, who is on the disabled list with stiffness in his lower back, played catch at 80 percent during Thursday's workout. Colby Lewis pitches Opening Day. It will be the fifth time he has opened the season in the Rangers' rotation. He was the No. 2 starter in 2011 and the No. 4 starter in 2010. He also was the No. 3 starter in 2004 and the No. 5 starter in 2003. He is the only Rangers pitcher in the five-man rotation era to begin a season in each spot in the rotation. White Sox starter John Danks was the Rangers' No. 1 pick in 2003. The only other former Draft pick to face the Rangers on Opening Day was Rick Waits. He pitched for the Indians on Opening Day in 1982 after being drafted by the Washington Senators in 1970.
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.