Yovani Gallardo was named the Opening Day starter for the Texas Rangers on Thursday. The right-hander will face the Athletics’ Sonny Gray on April 6 in Oakland.
It’s the sixth consecutive Opening Day start for Gallardo, who grew up in Fort Worth and attended Trimble Tech High School. The last five seasons he got the ball for the Milwaukee Brewers on Opening Day. He came to the Rangers in a trade in January.
Gallardo is the seventh different pitcher to start Opening Day in the past seven years for the Rangers.
“Yovani is a cool cat. You watch him pitch and you never know the direction the game is going,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “Extremely calm, confident. He’s the same guy all the time. Obviously, he is happy to represent the Texas Rangers, but not only the Texas Rangers, but his hometown. I think it’s outstanding for him and for us as an organization. I feel confident that he’s the guy.”
Gallardo, who grew up a Rangers fan, was honored.
“No matter however many times it is, it’s definitely a privilege and honor to get that ball Game 1,” he said. “I was excited to be here from Day 1 and have the opportunity to start Game 1 for the team I grew up watching as a young kid. It definitely means a lot more. It means a lot to put on that Ranger uniform.”
Banister also confirmed that left-hander Ross Detwiler has earned a spot in the rotation. Detwiler pitched in the bullpen last year for the Nationals. He joined the Rangers in a trade in December with the intent on earning a spot in the rotation.
“They showed a lot of confidence in me so far,” said Detwiler, who is happy to know where he stands with the season drawing near. “It gives me a little chance to actually know where I’m going to be for the first time in a long time.”
The Rangers received good news on the results of Shawn Tolleson’s MRI on Wednesday.
The right-hander has no significant material change to the forearm on his throwing arm. He’ll be examined by Rangers team physician Dr. Keith Meister on Friday. Wednesday’s results were compared with an MRI he had in 2013. Tolleson will work off a plan based on Meister’s exam.
Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine said the club was optimistic with the news, and Tolleson expects to be ready by Opening Day.
“If I can get in three more games before the season I’m going to feel confident [to start the season],” said Tolleson, who expects to throw a light bullpen session Friday and hopes he can pitch in Sunday’s game.
“It’s only been a week. I know I haven’t lost any arm strength,” he said.
Not an option
Outfielder Ryan Ludwick was informed by the Rangers that he will not be on the team. Ludwick, 36, was batting .200 with three RBIs in 12 games this spring. He’ll take a day or two to decide on his future. He was signed in early February to a minor league contract and was given a shot to earn a spot in left field this spring.
Lewis, Holland work
Left-hander Derek Holland and right-hander Colby Lewis started minor league games Thursday. Holland allowed three runs on six hits (including three solo homers) in a Double A game. He struck out four and walked one. Lewis allowed two runs on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings in a Triple A game. He struck out four and walked one.
Reliever Roman Mendez pitched in the Double A game and allowed a run on two hits and struck out two. Lisalverto Bonilla started a High A game and allowed six runs on seven hits in five innings. He struck out six and walked two.
Rangers at Athletics, 3:05 p.m., Hohokam Stadium, Mesa, Ariz.
Rangers: RHP Anthony Ranaudo, LHP Alex Claudio, RHP Keone Kela, RHP Kyuji Fujikawa, RHP Phil Klein
A’s: RHP Jesse Hahn, RHP R.J. Alvarez, LHP Eric O’Flaherty, RHP Tyler Clippard