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February 17, 2013

Rangers Sunday morning update: Who will start on Opening Day?

Manager Ron Washington isn't ready to announce the Rangers' starting pitcher on Opening Day, which is only six weeks aways, but he said it's obvious that there are two candidates for the job. He didn't name them, but Matt Harrison and Yu Darvish are the guys who could start March 31 at Houston.

Expect it to be Harrison. The Rangers have rewardeded their most veteran pitcher or the one coming of the best season with the Opening Day start. In 2010, for instance, Scott Feldman started the opener after a 17-win season. C.J. Wilson got the nod in 2011, and Colby Lewis started last year.

Harrison is both the senior member of the rotation and is coming off an 18-win season in 2012, while Darvish won 16 times in his rookie season.

Either way, the Rangers could configure their rotation so that Harrison and Darvish will pitch in the season-opening series and the home-opening series against Anaheim. The Rangers have off days April 1 and April 4, so the March 31 starter would be on normal rest for the April 5 game against the Angels.

Also in the news Sunday morning:

Joakim Soria will throw a 30-pitch bullpen session Monday as he continues his comeback from Tommy John surgery. He couldn't be more thrilled with his progress, and is hopeful that he will make his debut on the Rangers' active roster before June 1.

"If everything goes like this, I'm thinking by the end of May," said Soria, who is about two weeks away from throwing breaking pitches. "I've been trying to put in more effort every time."

Justin Miller, also coming off of Tommy John, will throw 30 pitches Tuesday.

-- Jeff Wilson



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