Right-hander Tanner Schepper will be the Texas Rangers opening day starter when the club hosts the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday, March 31, it was announced today by manager Ron Washington.
Scheppers, who is moving to the rotation in 2014 after all 115 of his major league appearances in 2012-13 have come in relief, is 1-1 with a 3.07 ERA (5 ER/14.2 IP) in 4 games this spring.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Scheppers would be just the second pitcher since 1945 to make his first major league start in a team's season opener. He would join the Los Angeles Dodgers Fernando Valenzuela, who defeated the Houston Astros, 2-0 on April 9, 1981. Valenzuela made ten relief outings for the Dodgers in 1980.
Scheppers was 6-2, 1.88 in 76 relief appearances with Texas in 2013. His last start came at Triple-A Round Rock in 2011.