'He Absolutely Deserves It': Rangers Pick Starting Pitcher For Spring Opener

Texas Rangers southpaw Wes Benjamin will kick off Cactus League action on Sunday.
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Texas Rangers manager Chris Woodward has announced the first four starters when Cactus League action begins Sunday. When the Rangers and Royals meet at Surprise Stadium, Wes Benjamin will be the first to take the ball for Texas.

"He's started for us. He's been here. He absolutely deserves it," Woodward said.

In reality, getting the nod to start the first game of Cactus League action isn't a true revelation of how the rotation will look come April 1 when the games count. Benjamin will only pitch one inning, which is not uncommon for the first several games of the spring.

READ MORE: Rangers Opening-Day Roster Projection 1.0

In addition, the Rangers' pitching schedule ultimately decides who pitches on what day, not the other way around.

Projected (and not-yet-official) Opening Day starter Kyle Gibson is scheduled to start on Monday against the Giants. Newcomer Kohei Arihara is set to start on Tuesday against the White Sox. Jonathan Hernández, who will be a staple in the Rangers' bullpen, will start on Wednesday against the Angels.

Even so, the Rangers like what Wes Benjamin brings to the table. He's one of the few left-handed pitchers that can give the Rangers multiple innings, which automatically makes him a legitimate candidate for a spot on the Opening Day roster.

"We love Wes," Woodward said. "He's been in this organization for a while. It was an easy decision, in my opinion."

On Friday, Kansas City Royals manager Mike Matheny announced Ervin Santana as the starter against the Rangers.

Rangers Announce Scheduled Pitchers

In addition to the announced starters for the first four games, the Rangers announced the pitching groups that will follow each starter. 

Sunday, February 28 (at Kansas City)

  • Wes Benjamin
  • Drew Anderson
  • Jason Bahr
  • Joe Gatto
  • Nick Vincent
  • Hunter Wood
  • Luis Ortiz

Monday, March 1 (vs San Francisco)

  • Kyle Gibson
  • Kolby Allard
  • Taylor Hearn
  • Sam Gaviglio
  • Spencer Patton
  • Tyler Phillips
  • Josh Sborz

Tuesday, March 2 (at Chicago White Sox)

  • Kohei Arihara
  • Kyle Cody
  • Brett de Geus
  • John King
  • Cole Winn

Wednesday, March 3 (at Los Angeles Angels)

  • Jonathan Hernández
  • Drew Anderson
  • Hans Crouse
  • Jimmy Herget
  • Fernery Ozuna
  • Yerry Rodriguez
  • Hunter Wood
  • Joe Gatto

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Chris Halicke covers the Texas Rangers for InsideTheRangers.com. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisHalicke.
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