The Rangers' pitching staff looks decent -- which, putting it in perspective, means it's as good as any time since the late 1990s. Kevin Millwood's a workhorse ace. Vicente Padilla is a bulldog. And newcomer Brandon McCarthy has downright nasty stuff. But if you've got valuable tickets to the April 6 home-opener against the Boston Red Sox -- a historic event that will rechristen Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and kick off The Ron Washington Era -- you'll behold neither of the three. How's this for your grand opening: Robinson Tejeda?
"Unless something, happens he'll be the guy," Washington said as I left spring training in Surprise, Arizona, over the weekend. Sitting at No. 4 in the rotation, it just so happens that Tejeda's turn will come in the Rangers' fourth game, which will be the team's first at home after a three-game set in Anaheim starting a week from today.
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So, we ask, can Tejeda handle the pressure of Opening Day?
"With his stuff, he shouldn't be scared of nothing," Washington says. "He should be bubbling with confidence. He's got the stuff to be a No. 1 some day."
I dunno, maybe it's just me, but I feel better about No. 5 starter Kameron Loe than I do Tejeda. Of course, I also thought Sammy Sosa was dead and buried, and just lookie now. And, in case you don't give a damn about baseball yet, McCarthy has struggled this spring, while John Danks, the former top prospect Texas shipped to the White Sox in the trade, has sparkled and has all but secured a spot on Chicago's staff. Wuh-oh. --Richie Whitt