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Josh Hamilton talks to Texas media in Arizona

Don't think the Rangers aren't cognizant of the circumstances in play when the Angels visit Arlington, Texas, this weekend.

It will be the first meeting of the 2013 campaign for the two American League West heavyweights. It will be the first tilt between two teams with World Series aspirations. It will be the Rangers' home opener, an annual festival full of pomp and pageantry.

And, of course, there's that Josh Hamilton guy.

Perhaps the largest fish in the free-agent pond this offseason, Hamilton bolted the Texas heat for the Los Angeles spotlight when he inked a five-year pact with the Angels in December.

"I think it'll be mixed," Hamilton said of the reaction he expects from Rangers fans. "I don't know if I can say there will be more claps than boos, or more boos than claps. It's something I'm not going to think about or stress about. When it happens, it happens."

As for the Rangers' reaction, it doesn't appear as though they have set aside time to prattle and reminisce with their ex-teammate.

"I'll let [others] hype him up," said Derek Holland, who will start Friday's contest. "He was a great teammate and did a lot of great things. He's an unbelievable athlete, but now he's on the other side. I've got to go out and execute and take care of business."

Rangers southpaw Matt Harrison, who will take the hill on Saturday, shared a similar business-like approach.

"We played with Hamilton for four or five years, and he's a great baseball player and a tough out," Harrison said. "At the same time, I'll be ready to go. It will be different facing him on an opposing team, but when the game starts, I'm trying to get him out."

Hamilton spent five seasons with Texas, an era during which he made five All-Star teams, won an AL Most Valuable Player Award and helped the team to a pair of appearances in the Fall Classic.

"It was great, absolutely," Hamilton said of his time in Texas. "I enjoyed every minute of it, the guys over there were great, the chemistry in the clubhouse was great. Hopefully it continues over there. Coaching staff, organization, front office, I can't say anything bad about it.

"I wish them the best. But as it goes, when we play them, we're going to get after it and try to beat them."

Now, the slugger has joined an Angels lineup that features the reigning AL Rookie of the Year and MVP runner-up in Mike Trout and a three-time National League MVP in Albert Pujols.

Holland isn't concerned despite posting a 7.00 ERA (21 earned runs in 27 innings) last season in four outings against the Halos.

"It doesn't matter. We've faced good lineups before," Holland said. "It comes down to making pitches and keeping the defense on their toes. The offense will do its part if I do my part. But there's no doubt it's a great lineup."

Texas skipper Ron Washington attempted to downplay the hype for Friday's affair.

"It's not the first time we've played the Angels under big circumstances," Washington said. "I'm sure everybody in Texas is excited."

Rangers: Holland ready to roll

The Angels have hit Holland hard in his outings against the division rival. For his career, Holland is 7-5 with a 5.58 ERA in 16 appearances (13 starts) against Los Angeles, having surrendered 101 hits in 90 1/3 frames.

Trout, Pujols, Alberto Callaspo, Mark Trumbo, Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar -- who all have at least 17 at-bats against Holland -- all boast batting averages better than .300 against the 26-year-old.

Still, Holland remains eager to toe the rubber before Rangers fans at the club's home opener.

"I'm excited," he said. "I'm looking forward to it and I'm ready to go. I feel strong. I feel prepared. I'm just a little anxious to get out there."

Holland, who pitched for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic last month, logged a 2.12 ERA in 17 Cactus League innings.

Angels: Vargas set to take the ball
Jason Vargas will make his Angels debut on Friday, his first regular-season outing since Los Angeles acquired the southpaw from the Mariners for Kendrys Morales in December.

In six spring starts, Vargas posted a 1-2 record and 7.54 ERA, yielding 19 earned runs on 30 hits in 22 2/3 innings. Familiar with the Rangers because of his AL West ties, Vargas went 1-2 with a 5.04 ERA in four starts against Texas last season.

"I feel ready," Vargas said. "It would've been nice to have a couple more good games, but I felt like I threw the ball well at times. I'm looking forward to getting out there and getting the feel of that first game."

Worth noting
• The Angels won 10 of 19 meetings with the Rangers last season. Texas is 10-9 in home openers at the Ballpark in Arlington and 22-19 overall in home openers.

• Friday's home opener at the Ballpark in Arlington is sold out. As of Wednesday, there were 1,500 reserved seats remaining for Saturday's matinee and 10,000 reserved seats available for Sunday's night game. Comments