Hamels tabbed to start Rangers' opener

Hamels tabbed to start Rangers' opener

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers manager Jeff Banister has officially announced that Cole Hamels will be the Opening Day starter against the Mariners on April 4.

"For me, it's a great honor to have that opportunity," Banister said. "He has done it before and to do it for us is pretty special."

Hamels will be the seventh Opening Day starter for the Rangers in the past seven years. Kevin Millwood was the Opening Day starter from 2006-09. Since then, it has been Scott Feldman, C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis, Matt Harrison, Tanner Scheppers and Yovani Gallardo.

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Hamels ready for Opening Day

"It'a an honor.," said Hamels. "This is a great organization. To do it for my teammates and get the game off the right way will be great, especially in front of all those Texas Rangers fans. Especially after what happened last year, it will be a great continuation."

Hamels was the Phillies' Opening Day starter in 2013 and last season. He was acquired by the Rangers on July 31, and he was 7-1 with a 3.66 ERA in 12 starts for Texas.

Hamels' rehab start

"There were a couple of guys we could have considered, but Cole was the front-runner," Banister said. "He has earned it … the body of work to begin with, the skill set, the experience and the equity he has in all his pitches. He is a big-game pitcher -- he showed that in Arlington last year. You've got to have the stuff and the ability to execute pitches, but you also have to control the moment."

Lewis, Martin Perez and Derek Holland are also expected to be in the Rangers' rotation, but Banister has not announced the order beyond Hamels.

Worth noting

• Catcher Robinson Chirinos was sent home sick on Wednesday.

• Outfielder Delino DeShields has been diagnosed with mild right biceps tendinitis. He is not playing against the Cubs on Wednesday, but he did work out in the morning.

• Reliever Luke Jackson, sidelined with tightness in his lower back, is up to 25 pitches in his bullpen sessions.

• First baseman Ike Davis remains sidelined with a mild right knee sprain, and assistant general manager Thad Levine said it's unlikely he'll make the team. Levine said Davis is open to going to Triple-A Round Rock.

"He understands he needs game reps before he can be a consideration," Levine said.

• The Dallas Stars are attending the Rangers' game with the Cubs, one day after they clinched a playoff spot with a victory over the Chicago BlackHawks.

"A great job by [head coach Lindy Ruff] and the boys," Banister said. "We'd like to congratulate all of them. Pretty awesome."

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