Millwood set for Rangers debut

Millwood makes Rangers debut in opener

Kevin Millwood led the American League with a 2.86 ERA but was just 9-11 while pitching for the Cleveland Indians because he received only 3.98 runs per nine innings from his offense, the seventh lowest in the league.

Now he pitches for the Rangers, who were third in the American League with 865 runs, and he will be their Opening Day starter against the Boston Red Sox.

Rangers manager Buck Showalter named Millwood the Opening Day starter immediately after he agreed to a five-year, $60 million contract.

"His credentials on the field speak for themselves," general manager Jon Daniels said. "As much as anything, what attracted us to Kevin were the intangibles -- his character, his makeup and person on and off the field. We did our homework and heard the same thing -- terms like 'bulldog,' 'tenacious,' 'character' and 'great around young pitchers.' These are things we are ecstatic about as we go forward."

Millwood is beginning his 10th Major League season. He was an 11th-round pick of the Atlanta Braves in 1993 out of Bessemer City (N.C.) High.

He made his Major League debut on July 14, 1997, and picked up his first victory with two scoreless innings against the Phillies.

He was 5-3 with a 4.03 ERA in 12 games, including eight starts, as a rookie, then went into the Braves rotation for good in 1998, going 17-8 with a 4.08 ERA. Millwood was an All-Star in 1999, going 18-7 with a 2.68 ERA. He was second behind Greg Maddux in victories but had the lowest ERA in the rotation.

Millwood made his first playoff start against the Houston Astros in the 1999 National League Division Series, pitching Game 2 and throwing a complete-game one-hitter. The only hit was a home run by Ken Caminiti and the Braves won, 5-1.

The Braves advanced to the NL Championship Series and won both games that Millwood pitched, Games 2 and 6, to advance to the World Series. But Millwood, in his only World Series appearance, allowed five runs in two innings in Game 2 against the Yankees and the Braves were swept in four games.

Millwood slipped to 10-13 with a 4.86 ERA in 2000, then made just 21 starts in 2001 because of an inflamed labrum in his right shoulder. But he came back to go 18-8 with a 3.24 ERA for the Braves in 2002.

He was 1-1 with a 3.27 ERA in two starts against the Giants in the Division Series, but the Braves were eliminated. With one year to go before becoming a free agent, the Braves traded him to the Phillies for catcher Johnny Estrada.

Millwood was 14-12 with a 4.01 ERA in 35 starts for the Phillies in 2003 and threw a no-hitter against the San Francisco Giants on April 23, striking out 10 and walking three.

He surprised the Phillies by accepting arbitration that winter and stayed one more year, going 9-6 with a 4.85 ERA while missing five weeks with acute inflammation in his elbow.

  Rangers probable lineup
 Pos.Name
1.LFBrad Wilkerson
2.SSMichael Young
3.1BMark Teixeira
4.DHPhil Nevin
5.3BHank Blalock
6.RFKevin Mench
7.CFLaynce Nix
8.CRod Barajas
9.2BIan Kinsler
PKevin Millwood

Faced with limited interest, Millwood signed a one-year deal with the Indians in the offseason.

This will be his third Opening Day start, but the Rangers hope it is the first of many for them.

Pitching matchup
BOS: RHP Curt Schilling
• 8-8, 5.69 ERA in 2005
• 1-0, 0.00 in 2005 vs. TEX
• 2-0, 3.78 lifetime vs. TEX

TEX: RHP Kevin Millwood
• 9-11, 2.86 ERA in 2005
• 1-1, 3.75 ERA in 2005 vs. BOS
• 3-2, 3.71 ERA lifetime vs. BOS

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• TEX: KDFW-Ch. 4
• BOS: NESN

On radio
• TEX: KRLD 1080/AM, KFLC 1270/AM (Español)
• BOS: WEEI 850/AM

On deck
• Tuesday: Boston at Texas, 7:05 p.m. CT
• Wednesday: Boston at Texas, 7:05 p.m. CT
• Thursday: Detroit at Texas, 7:05 p.m. CT

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.