SURPRISE, Ariz. — Matt Harrison has been tabbed the Texas Rangers’ Opening Day starter. Along with starting the season-opening game in Houston on March 31, Harrison will also start the home opener on April 5 against the Los Angeles Angels.Harrison found out the news from manager Ron Washington after allowing one run over six innings in a minor league start.“Just to hear those words is pretty awesome,” Harrison said. “I won’t take it lightly. I won’t take it for granted because something like this might not happen again.”It’ll be Harrison’s first Opening Day start, as he’s the fourth different pitcher the past four seasons to start the opener. Colby Lewis was last year’s; C.J. Wilson opened the 2011 season; and Scott Feldman in 2010.Harrison was the likely candidate all spring. He is coming off a career year, made the All-Star Game and led the team with 18 victories last season.Yu Darvish will follow Harrison in the order, pitching April 2 and again April 7.“We decided to give the ball to Harry,” Washington said. “He was our most consistent guy last year. He won us 18 games, and we thought it was fitting he got this opportunity. He was excited. It was something he wanted.“Yu was a professional about it. The only thing Yu cared about was the fact that he wants to stay healthy this year and do well for us, whether he was the No. 1 guy or not.”Washington didn’t announce any other rotation plans, although Derek Holland and Alexi Ogando are likely to be the No. 3 and 4 starters. The fifth spot remains up for grabs between Nick Tepesch, Randy Wells and Justin Grimm. The team is also keeping an eye on Derek Lowe, who started Thursday.But the story of the day was Harrison, who has gone from being left off the 2010 World Series roster to Opening Day starter in 2013.“I’ve never done it, but talking to other guys who have, they treat it like any other game because that’s what it is basically,” Harrison said. “With all the stuff going on before the game, it’s hard not to let that get into your head, but you try to keep your emotions at bay.”Ross to ’penRobbie Ross has been dropped from the fifth starter competition and is headed back to the bullpen.Ross pitched a scoreless inning of relief in a Double A minor league game Thursday, as the transition from starter to reliever began.Ross had an impressive rookie campaign as a reliever, posting a 2.22 ERA over 58 appearances.“We looked at the makeup of our bullpen and felt like Robbie did a good job there,” Ron Washington said. “He was still in the process of trying to find his legs and trying to find a comfort of being a starter. We’re at the time right now where we need to get him going in the position he’s going to play.”Ross still has a desire to start in the future, but understands his role as a reliever.“In the long scheme of things, my goal is to be a starter,” Ross said. “But right now, I’m focused on what I have to do.”Briefly• Yu Darvish, scratched from his last start with neck stiffness, had no issues throwing a bullpen session Thursday. He is scheduled to start on Saturday vs. the Reds.• Leonys Martin was granted United States residency, not citizenship, after an interview with the local U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in Miami on Monday, his agent Richard Carter said. There was apparently initial confusion between Martin and the Rangers on his official status, as he won’t be eligible for naturalization until April 5, 2015. “Mr. Martin is extremely happy and grateful for the opportunities afforded to him and looks forward to making contributions on and off the baseball diamond,” Carter said.• The Rangers released right-handed reliever Yoshinori Tateyama from his minor league contract. Tateyama, who has been with the Rangers the past two seasons, is hopeful of finding a big-league job.• Reliever Jason Frasor returned to camp on Thursday after going back to Tampa for the birth of his daughter, Cameron. Frasor, who has not allowed a run in Cactus League outings, will make his sixth appearance today.• Oakley is now the official eyewear of the Rangers, as it reached a multi-year partnership with the organization. The partnership also includes signage at Rangers Ballpark.
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison