3/31/2014 1:17 P.M. ET
Darvish's next throwing session to help map return
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers' plan was to meet after their Opening Day game with the Phillies and discuss a plan for pitcher Yu Darvish, who is on the disabled list with stiffness in his neck.
Darvish, after throwing without any problems on Saturday and Sunday, is expected to have another throwing session on Tuesday, and he is eligible to come off the disabled list as early as Saturday. Darvish will likely need at least a simulated game against hitters before he's ready to come off the disabled list, and rookie Nick Martinez is still scheduled to pitch that day against the Rays.
"We're just going to be smart about it," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "Yu may miss one start, at a minimum, but we want to keep that number down."
Matt Harrison, who missed almost all of last season with a herniated disk in his lower back, is scheduled to start Thursday for Double-A Frisco. Harrison, who also opened the season on the disabled list, probably needs four more starts in the Minor Leagues before he is an option for the Rangers' rotation.
Colby Lewis will start Tuesday in a Minor League exhibition game between Triple-A Round Rock and Frisco. The Rangers will decide after that game if he is ready to come off the disabled list or will get one more start in the Minors. Lewis can become a free agent on April 10 if he's not activated off the disabled list.
Derek Holland, who had left knee surgery in January, is expected to throw off a mound for the first time on Wednesday. He'll still need two more months of rehab and pitching in games before he's close to returning.
Moreland gets start at DH vs. Phils lefty Lee
ARLINGTON -- Mitch Moreland was in the Rangers' Opening Day lineup for the second straight season on Monday. This time, Moreland was the designated hitter after starting at first base last season.
He was also in the lineup against left-hander Cliff Lee. Manager Ron Washington still may use right-handed hitter Michael Choice at designated hitter against some left-handers, but he wanted Moreland to be in there on Opening Day.
"[Moreland] did a good job against left-handers in Spring Training," Washington said. "We're going to face left-handers in Tampa Bay, and you may not see him. But this is Opening Day. I feel he deserves it."
The Phillies are scheduled to pitch right-handers A.J. Burnett and Kyle Kendrick in the final two games of their Opening Series against the Rangers. The Rangers then open a three-game series against the Rays on Friday at Tropicana Field. The Rangers are scheduled to face right-hander Jake Odorizzi on Friday, left-hander David Price on Saturday, and right-hander Alex Cobb on Sunday.
Moreland did not start on Opening Day in 2011 against Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester, or in 2012 against White Sox left-hander John Danks. But he was 5-for-12 against left-handers in Spring Training.
"It's Opening Day," Moreland said. "I'm just happy to be out there and get the opportunity to play and help the team win."
Wilson gets call at second for Rangers' opener
ARLINGTON -- Josh Wilson came into camp as a non-roster player. He went into the season as the Rangers' starting second baseman, getting the start over Donnie Murphy on Opening Day against the Phillies. The Rangers claimed Murphy off waivers from the Cubs five days ago.
"Josh has been with me since February," manager Ron Washington said. "They are going to both get playing time, but he has been with me since February. He can catch the ball and he knows how to play."
Wilson is the first Rangers non-roster spring invitee to make the Opening Day lineup since Sammy Sosa in 2007.
This is Wilson's 16th professional season, and he has played in 386 Major League games in parts of six seasons with the Marlins, Nationals, Rays, D-backs, Padres, Mariners and Brewers. It is the third time he has been on an Opening Day roster. He was there with the Nationals in 2007, and the D-backs last season. Monday was his first opener start.
"I go into every spring expecting to make the team," Wilson said. "I want to play and I want to be there, no matter what the team looks like on paper. My mentality is to work hard and expect the best to happen. My mindset never changes."
Murphy is one of five players on the Opening Day roster who were acquired by waiver claim. The others are pitchers Pedro Figueroa, Shawn Tolleson and Seth Rosin, and catcher Chris Gimenez.
Andrus sets Rangers' Opening Day record
ARLINGTON -- Elvis Andrus was in Monday's Opening Day lineup at shortstop for the sixth straight season. That's a new Rangers record for shortstops. Toby Harrah had five straight Opening Day starts at shortstop from 1972-76, and Michael Young did so from 2004-08.
Alex Rios started in right field for the Rangers against the Phillies on Monday. Nelson Cruz, who is now with the Orioles, had started five straight Opening Days in right field for the Rangers. The last player to start in right field for the Rangers prior to Cruz was Marlon Byrd in 2009. Byrd started in right field for the Phillies on Monday.
Tanner Scheppers was the fifth different Opening Day starter for the Rangers in the five years since Kevin Millwood started four straight from 2006-09. Since Millwood, the Rangers have started Scott Feldman, C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis, Matt Harrison and now Scheppers on Opening Day.
Scheppers is the first pitcher in Major League history with at least 100 career relief appearances to make his first big league start on Opening Day.
J.P. Arencibia started at catcher for Geovany Soto on Monday, but it was his fourth straight start on Opening Day. He had three straight Opening Day starts for the Blue Jays, with three home runs. Third baseman Adrian Beltre made his fourth-consecutive Opening Day start, and 13th overall including his time with the Dodgers, Mariners and Red Sox.
• The Rangers have put pitcher Michael Kirkman through outright waivers and should know in the next couple of days if he clears. The Rangers have heard rumblings he might be claimed. If Kirkman clears, he would join Nick Tepesch, Ryan Feierabend and Scott Baker in the Round Rock rotation.
• Prince Fielder is wearing No. 84 for the Rangers. The only player to wear a higher number was infielder Rene Gonzales, who wore No. 88 in 1996.
• Pitcher Seth Rosin had the unique experience of being with two different teams on Opening Day. He was with the Dodgers during their two games against the D-backs in Australia earlier this month. He was since claimed on waivers by the Rangers.
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.