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March 31, 2009

Gabbard clears, creates room on 40-man roster

Left-hander Kason Gabbard, who was optioned to the minor leagues earlier this month, has cleared waivers and been removed from the 40-man roster. That's significant, very significant, as the Rangers search for as many as six spots to add non-roster players to the 40-man roster.

Matt Harrison lasted only 1 2/3 innings against the Giants, allowing five runs. Only two were earned, though, as Ian Kinsler booted a grounder that would have ended the second inning. Harrison wasn't done. He went to the back fields to pitch against minor leaguers and get his pitch count up to 100 or 110. The Giants lead 5-0 after two.

Third baseman Travis Metcalf has been optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City. He was in line to be the starting third baseman until Michael Young was moved there during the off-season.

Right-hander Dustin Nippert threw live batting practice and reported no issues with a muscle in his back. He hasn't pitched in a game since March 19, when he had to leave early against Oakland. He will be evaluated today and could still be healthy enough to make the Opening Day roster. Time has all but run out for Willie Eyre, who could not pitch today with a strained right groin.

George H.W. Bush has thrown out the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington twice, in 1991 and 2000. His son, George W., did not throw out the first pitch as Texas governor in 2000. George W. Bush will throw out the first pitch this year on Opening Day.

-- Jeff Wilson

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