Per John Blake — the Rangers’ executive VP of communications — on Twitter, the club has announced Cole Hamels as the Opening Day Starter. The news doesn’t come as any surprise, as the Rangers’ other ace, Yu Darvish, isn’t expected to return until mid-May as he’s still on his way back from Tommy John surgery. The Rangers host the Mariners on April 4 for a three-game set to open the regular season.
This will be Hamels’ third Opening Day start. The 32-year-old posted a 3.64 ERA over 20 starts with the Phillies last season before they traded him along with reliever Jake Diekman to the Rangers in exchange for starter Matt Harrison and five minor leaguers. In 12 starts with his new team, Hamels stayed consistent with a 3.66 ERA.
Hamels is under contract through at least 2018, earning $22.5 million in each of the next three seasons plus a $6 million buyout for 2019 if the Rangers decide not to pick up his $20 million club option.