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By: Jared Sandler

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The Leadoff

Here’s the latest edition of “Just Hangin'” Rangers power throwing reliever, Keone Kela.

Stats of the Day  

3: Ian Desmond’s OF assists so far in Cactus League play.

2: Ian Desmond’s OF assists that have eliminated a run at the plate.

2: Ian Desmond’s OF assists that have come from centerfield.

Quote of the Day

“I think we all do. Anytime we go out there, we’re the number one. No matter if we’re leading off a homestand or leading off a road trip, when it’s our time to play we try to make it count. We’re that number one guy. We’re that ace at the time and we just go out and try to do our business and try to get a win for our time.” -Cole Hamels on whether he sees himself as a number one pitcher.

Covering the Bases

*Jeff Banister announced that Cole Hamels would be the team’s Opening Day starter. This was by no means a shock, but the official announcement allows the ceremonial stuff to take place. Here’s Cole on getting to start on Opening Day for the third time in four years and his first with the Rangers:

*Delino DeShields (right biceps tendinitis) arrived today free of symptoms and took part in batting practice and other team drills. He did not play today but he’s expected to play in one of the team’s two games tomorrow.

*Luke Jackson (back) is expected to throw a 25-pitch bullpen tomorrow after participating in long toss today.

*Josh Hamilton (knee) participated in batting practice for the second straight day as well as other drills and is progressing nicely in his recovery efforts.

*Robinson Chirinos (ill) was sent home to his residence in Surprise and should be back tomorrow.

*Ike Davis (knee) is hoping to re-engage in full baseball activity soon. Thad Levine acknowledged that Davis really isn’t a candidate for the Opening Day roster at this point, but said that Davis, who has an out, has expressed an “open-mindedness” to accepting a minor league assignment.

*The Royals granted former Rangers RHP, Ross Ohlendorf, his release.

Game Notes RANGERS 5 Cubs 0

On the Bump

*Derek Holland got some help from Ian Desmond (two OF assists, see below), but he easily looked his best of Cactus League play. He struck out the side in the fourth, and finished with 7 strikeouts and just 1 walk. Maybe most impressive is that Holland needed just 61 pitches (45 strikes) in 5 innings. He then threw 20 pitches in the bullpen, totaling 81.

Here’s Banny on Derek Holland:

Here’s Holland on Derek Holland:

*Matt Bush made his Cactus League debut, and did so with authority, blazing fastballs as hard as 97 mph to go along with a 78 mph breaking ball that struck out Kyle Schwarber and an 80 mph breaking ball that struck out Jorge Soler. He threw 10 pitches (9 strikes) in a 1-2-3 inning. He ended up pitching 2 innings, facing just seven batters, allowing just one to reach (walk), striking out three. He topped out at 98 mph.

*Keone Kela pitched a 1-2-3 inning with a couple of groundouts and a fly out.

*Shawn Tolleson pitched a scoreless ninth, but gave up a hit and hit a batter. His cutter looked strong.

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At the Dish

*Ian Desmond tripled home the game’s first one, driving the ball to the opposite field alley in the fifth inning. He continues to look sharp, using both sides of the field, too.

*Pedro Ciriaco went 2-for-3 and he ends the days back at an even .500 (21-for-42) in Cactus League play.

In the Field

*Ian Desmond made the most impressive defensive play of the Spring for the Rangers. Check it out.

*Desmond added a second OF assist of the game–and third of the Cactus League season–when he eliminated the potential first run at the plate on a single up the middle.

Here’s Desmond on his progress in CF:

Minor League Game 

*Tom Wilhelmsen gave up 2 hits in a scoreless inning, striking out 2 (20 pitches)

*Phil Klein gave up 4 runs on 8 hits on 5 innings and was reportedly hit relatively hard.

The Walkoff

The Rangers named Cole Hamels as the team’s Opening Day starter, which will pin him against Felix Hernandez on April 4th at Globe Life Park in Arlington. It marks the third time in the last four years Hamels has received such an honor, opening both 2013 and 2015 on the mound for the Phillies (Cliff Lee opened 2014 on the mound for Philadelphia versus the Rangers in Arlington). Here are some notes about Hamels on Opening Day as well as the Rangers Opening Day starting pitcher history.

COLE HAMELS

*Hamels is 0-2 on Opening Day, having pitched 10 innings, allowing 9 runs on 12 hits–7 home runs–striking out 11 and walking 4. Below are the box scores for each game.

2013.

2015.

*This will be the second time Hamels has started Opening Day for the home team.

*Of all the runs Hamels has allowed on Opening Day, only one has come on a hit that was not a home run.

*Hamels is the first left-handed pitcher to start on Opening Day for the Rangers since Matt Harrison started versus Houston in 2013.

*Hamels can become the first left-handed starter to get a win since Kenny Rogers beat the White Sox in 2000.

TEXAS RANGERS

*Hamels is the 27th pitcher to start for the Rangers on Opening Day

*The Rangers have had a different Opening Day starter each of the past seven seasons. The last starter to pitch in back-to-back Opening Days was Kevin Millwood, who started four straight from 2006-2009.

*Charlie Hough has made the most Opening Day starts for the Rangers (6), with Kevin Millwood (4), Jon Matlack (3), Nolan Ryan (3), and Kenny Rogers (3) as the others in franchise history who have started on Opening Day more than twice.

*Dick Bosman started four times on Opening Day, but the first two came when the Rangers were still the Washington Senators. Bosman started the first ever Opening Day for the Rangers.

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*Hough has the most wins (3) and no-decisions (2) among Opening Day starters in Rangers history. Kevin Millwood has suffered the most losses (3) among Rangers Opening Day starters.