Holland eager to start a Texas-style home opener

Holland eager to start a Texas-style home opener

OAKLAND -- Derek Holland has had many thrills in his young career, including pitching in two World Series. But he'll experience another first when he takes the mound on Friday to start the Rangers' home opener against the Astros.

"I haven't started any opener, home or season," Holland said. "It's very exciting, a great moment. [It's] one of those things you look forward to."

Holland will be opposed by Astros right-hander Collin McHugh in the 44th home opener in Arlington. Last year Holland spent the home opener on the disabled list and didn't pitch until September.

"I'm looking forward to the fans screaming and yelling," Holland said. "I just hope we don't see the wave. I hate that."

Game time will be 3:05 p.m. CT, and the opening ceremonies will have a Texas flavor appropriate for the Rangers and Astros.

Gov. Greg Abbott will make a "Texas Toss" to Rangers Hall of Famer Ivan Rodriguez prior to the introduction of the two teams. The "Texas Toss" will be immediately preceded by a live performance of "Texas, Our Texas" by Joel Lagrone.

Representing the George W. Bush Presidential Center, retired Air Force Staff Sergeant Nicholas Bradley will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Bradley served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and is a winner of the Purple Heart after being severely wounded in 2008.

The Star Spangled Banner will be performed by the United States Air Force Band of the West from Lackland Air Force Base. A large United States flag will be unfurled in center field by Texas Rangers season-ticket holders. That group will also unfurl the Texas state flag on Greene's Hill. Following the national anthem, there will be a United States Air Force flyover from the 301st Fighter Wing, based out of Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base.

Cash parking lots will open at 9 a.m. CT and ballpark gates will open at noon. All fans will be required to undergo Major League Baseball mandated metal-detection screening before entering the ballpark this season.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.