Rangers tab Matt Harrison as Opening Day starter

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The 2013 season will begin next Sunday night when the Rangers face the Astros at Minute Maid Park at 8:05 p.m. ET. And now we have the pitching matchup locked in.

According to Richard Durrett and Ron Matejko of ESPN Dallas, Rangers manager Ron Washington announced this evening that Matt Harrison will be the club’s Opening Day starter. Bud Norris was already announced as the starter for Houston earlier this week.

This will be the first Opening Day start of Harrison’s career. With a 3.34 ERA and 32 wins over the past two seasons, the 27-year-old southpaw is plenty worthy of the assignment.

Yu Darvish, who posted a 3.90 ERA and 221 strikeouts over 191 1/3 innings in his first season stateside last year, is set to pitch the second game of the season for the Rangers.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.