ARLINGTON (AP) — Prince Fielder hit a towering home run in his first at-bat in his new home, and the Texas Rangers beat Triple-A Mexican League team Quintana Roo 7-4 in an exhibition game Thursday night.
The slugger, acquired from Detroit in an offseason trade for All-Star second baseman Ian Kinsler, hit a two-run homer that went an estimated 424 feet into the Texas bullpen in right-center. Fielder’s fourth homer of the spring made it 2-1, putting the Rangers ahead to stay.
“He’s starting to get locked in a little bit, starting to swing the bat, starting to get through some baseballs,” manager Ron Washington said. “It was nice that he caught a good fastball and punched it out of the ballpark.”
Donnie Murphy, claimed off waivers from the Chicago Cubs a day earlier, had a double and scored on Fielder’s shot in the first. An inning later, Murphy hit a three-run homer — a drive initially ruled a double before replay showed the ball cleared the 14-foot wall in left before ricocheting back onto the field.
“Good first day in a Texas Rangers uniform,” Washington said.
After breaking camp in Arizona, the Rangers were home for the only time before the season opener Monday against Philadelphia. They play a pair of exhibition games against AL West rival Houston in the Alamodome in San Antonio on Friday night and Saturday.
Murphy and Josh Wilson, veteran journeymen, are among the options to play second base with Jurickson Profar out up to three months with a muscle tear in his right shoulder. Murphy started at second and Wilson was at shortstop for Elvis Andrus, and they turned a double play.
Wilson was 2 for 2, including an RBI double in the second before scoring on Murphy’s homer.
SHORT RETURN: It appears Andrus will be ready for opening day.
The shortstop has dealt with a sore arm much of the spring, after not playing winter ball for the first time. He took part in pregame fielding drills Thursday that included cutoffs and relay throws. He even made some jump throws to first base after going into the hole to field the ball.
Washington said Andrus will play in the field Friday night. Andrus singled as a pinch-hitter against Quintana Roo, then stole second and third.
“Finally got his arm right, and he’s ready to go,” Washington said. “Anytime he’s going in the hole, jumping up throwing to first base, he’s ready to go.”
Rangers: Tanner Scheppers, the converted setup man slated to start on opening day, allowed a hit and a run in his only scheduled inning.
Scheppers gave up a leadoff double to Jerry Owens, who scored after a pair of grounders.
Texas left-hander Matt Harrison said he feels good and has had no issues since an early setback in spring training, when he had back and neck stiffness.
The Rangers are being cautious with Harrison, their opening day starter last season who made only two starts before surgery twice for a herniated disk in his back. Harrison is scheduled to throw three innings Friday night against Houston. He could make his season debut before the end of April.
Colby Lewis, who missed last season while recovering from elbow surgery and then had hip surgery, threw 72 pitches over five scoreless innings Wednesday against Seattle in the last Cactus League game in Arizona. He’s scheduled to pitch in a minor league game Tuesday night.
“If you judge Colby on what he did against that lineup against Seattle, he’s ready,” Washington said. “But this guy just came off a hip injury. We want to make certain that there’s no issues.”
Ismael Valdez, the pitching coach for Quintana Roo, played for seven teams over 12 major league seasons (1994-2005). That included two years with the Rangers.
Valdez was 14-17 in 45 starts for Texas from 2002-03. The right-hander also pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Angels, San Diego, Seattle and Florida, with a 104-105 record and 4.09 ERA in 325 career games.
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