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Harrison, Darvish both Opening Night options


SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers manager Ron Washington has an idea of who his Opening Night pitcher will be -- either Matt Harrison or Yu Darvish -- but is refraining from making an announcement.

"It comes down to performance, experience, matchups...we could go either way," Washington said.

The Rangers open the season on March 31 against the Astros at 7:05 p.m. CT.

"As long as they let me pitch, I'm fine when I pitch," Darvish said. "It doesn't have any significance to me."

One clue may be that Geovany Soto will likely do much of the catching when Darvish is on the mound. That may mean that if A.J. Pierzynski is in the Opening Night lineup, Harrison will be on the mound.

Also of interest is how Washington chooses to arrange his rotation for the first week of the season. The Rangers open against the Astros on a Sunday, then are off on Monday. They play Tuesday and Wednesday, get another day off on Thursday and then face the Angels in the home opener on April 5.

That gives Washington flexibility. His Opening Night starter could pitch the home opener on four days' rest. For example, Harrison could pitch the season opener, while Darvish and Derek Holland pitch the next two games against the Astros. Then, Washington could have Harrison, Alexi Ogando and Darvish pitch the three-game series against the Angels at the Ballpark in Arlington.

That would leave Holland to pitch on Monday, April 8, against the Rays, before the Rangers finally need a fifth starter on April 9.

"We have a schedule. We just need to make sure [everything] falls into place," Washington said.

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