Rheinecker came to camp with a shot at being the third left-hander in the bullpen behind C.J. Wilson and Eddie Guardado. But this is the second year in a row that he has had health issues in Spring Training.Last year he had a back problem and began the season on the disabled list. He didn't start pitching until May 26 while on medical rehabilitation assignment at Triple-A Oklahoma. He was 4-3 with a 5.36 ERA with the Rangers. Millwood to pitch Opening Day: Manager Ron Washington stated the obvious on Sunday when he said Kevin Millwood would be the Rangers Opening Day starter against the Seattle Mariners on April 1. It will be the third straight season that Millwood has started the opener for the Rangers. He would be the first Rangers pitcher to start on Opening Day three straight years since Nolan Ryan in 1990-92. Charlie Hough also started three straight in 1987-89 and six overall, most by any Rangers pitcher since 1972. Kenny Rogers (1995, 200 and 2004) and Jon Matlack (1978, 1980-81) are the only other pitchers who have made three Opening Day starts for the Rangers. Mighty Josh: Josh Hamilton is putting on a daily show in batting practice. He's a left-handed hitter, but he has been going the opposite way and putting balls on top of the indoor batting cage well beyond the left-field wall. Washington at one point went into the cage and checked his bat. "I thought he might have some cork in it," Washington said. "No, I was just messing with him. He is one strong dude." No platoon for Hamilton: Hamilton hit .222 against left-handers last year, but Washington isn't planning on sitting him against them this season. Washington said he expects both Hamilton and Ben Broussard to be in the lineup on Opening Day against Mariners left-hander Erik Bedard. Frank Catalanotto is likely to be the only left-handed hitter who sits against left-handed pitching. Washington said Catalanotto will lead off against right-handers and Ian Kinsler will do so against left-handers. Kinsler likely will bat down in the order when a right-hander is on the mound. He said it: "It's tough. I know the situation I'm coming into, but it doesn't mean all the doors are closed. Maybe if I come in here and hit and play defense, maybe they can find a way to keep both of us." -- Travis Metcalf, who had a strong finish to the season last year but is likely to be headed back to Triple-A with the return of Hank Blalock to play third base Briefly: The Rangers are still getting calls from agents who are trying to find jobs for unsigned players. Scott Boras has talked to them about center fielder Corey Patterson, but the Rangers are happy with what they have. Boras also represents unsigned pitchers Kyle Lohse and Jeff Weaver. ... Washington is thrilled with how Blalock looks defensively after all the time they put into it while he was on the disabled list. Said Washington: "He held onto it. Dang, he looks good." ... Washington said he wants to get his regulars as many at-bats as possible in Spring Training. A good number for him is 90 at-bats, saying, "Kinsler got close to 90 at-bats last year and came out like a firecracker. I want to get these guys as many at-bats without grinding them into the ground."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less