Washington D.C. hasn't been this pumped up for a sports event (other than the Redskins) in decades. But the whole attitude of the town is upbeat as the Senators, errrrrrrrr Nationals I mean, REALLY return Sunday. When the new Nationals Park shows off its first regular season game, the entire town will celebrate baseball's real return to the city, and put the RFK past behind it. Of course those of us lucky enough to have tickets have already been notified that everybody will come in through either one or two gates (security for President Bush) so I'm planning on getting there early. Besides, it will give me more of a chance to boo Tex!!
The Rangers scored eight runs over the final two innings, including six in the eighth, to rally past the Padres 12-7 at the Peoria Sports Complex.
Josh Hamilton had a two-run homer in the third and added a double in the ninth as the Rangers starters played all nine innings. Michael Young had three RBI, two of which came on a double just before Hamilton hit his third homer of the spring.
Vicente Padilla pitched six innings, allowing five runs on 10 hits. He encountered trouble in the third inning, when he allowed back-to-back homers to pitcher Jake Peavy and Brian Giles as part of a four-run Padres spurt.
The biggest hit in the Rangers' eighth inning was a two-run double by Ben Broussard.
The Rangers announced that right-hander Luis Mendoza will be the fifth starter, but he will start the season on the disabled list with a blister on his right middle finger. That means Kason Gabbard will start April 4 against the Angels, and Mendoza will make a rehab start at Oklahoma City before starting in Arlington on April 12.
The club also said that right-hander Josh Rupe has secured a bullpen spot, leaving Wes Littleton and Robinson Tejeda vying for the eighth and final spot to open the season.
The Padres turned a 4-1 deficit into a 5-4 lead in about, oh, 12 minutes. After back-to-back homers by Jake Peavy and Brian Giles, the Padres added two more runs on a single by Tony Clark and a sacrifice fly by Scott Hairston.
Michael Young had a two-out, two-run double, and Josh Hamilton followed with a towering home run to right-center field in the third inning to stake the Rangers to a 4-1 lead against the Padres and NL Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy.
Peavy, though, led off the bottom of the third inning with a solo homer off Vicente Padilla, and Brian Giles made it back-to-back blasts with a shot to right.
It's 4-3 with one out in the Padres' half of the third.
Catcher Adam Melhuse has been told that he is on the major-league roster, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia is headed to Triple-A Oklahoma to start the season. Saltalamacchia, the centerpiece of the Mark Teixeira trade last year, will be asked to catch as many as six times a week to help develop his receiving skills. The Rangers have also sent down Kameron Loe, leaving Wes Littleton, Robinson Tejeda and Josh Rupe fighting for the final two bullpen spots.
Five Texas pitchers combined for a five hitter as the Rangers beat the Mariners 5-1 Tuesday night in Surprise. Hank Blalock went a perfect 4 for 4 with 3 RBI. He blasted a two-run homer to right in the first inning. Milton Bradley also added an RBI single and legged out a triple as he started in right field for the first time this spring. Kaz Fukumori started the game for Texas and was followed by Kameron Loe, Franklyn German, Josh Rupe and Wes Littleton. Texas had nine hits.