Rangers lefty Hamels draws opening day assignment

SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) Cole Hamels has been picked to start on opening day for the AL West champion Texas Rangers.

Manager Jeff Banister made the announcement Wednesday. The Rangers begin at home on April 4 against Seattle.

Hamels will be the seventh different Texas starter on opening day in as many years. Hamels previously started the opener for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2013 and 2015.

Hamels went 7-1 in 12 starts after the Rangers got him in a trade with the Phillies last July 31.

The 32-year-old lefty was the MVP of the 2008 World Series.

''There were a couple of guys we could have considered, but Cole was the front-runner,'' Banister said. ''He has earned it . the body of work to begin with, the skill set, the experience and the equity he has in all his pitches. He is a big-game pitcher. He showed that in Arlington last year. You have got to have the stuff and the ability to execute pitches, but you also have to control the moment.''

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