ARLINGTON -- Lost in all the attention directed toward Yu Darvish is that Nelson Cruz hit his first home run of the season against the Mariners on Monday. He was 1-for-10 against the White Sox over the weekend before going 3-for-4 on Monday. His three-run home run in the third inning erased the Mariners' 5-2 lead."It was nice to see Cruz break out," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "As long as he continues to see pitches and have at-bats, it will happen. He's streaky. He'll get hot and then he won't get hot. We understand that, but his threat is good enough." Cruz hit .236 with one home run and nine RBIs during Spring Training and was also hit by a pitch on his left elbow just three days before Opening Day. That was sore for a few days, but Cruz said it is fine now. "I feel good," Cruz said. "The more at-bats I take, the better I feel. That's a good sign."
Kinsler deal likely to be official on Wednesday
ARLINGTON -- Second baseman Ian Kinsler has a new five-year, $75 million contract, but is not ready to talk about it. Kinsler did get his required physical on Tuesday, and the Rangers are waiting for the test results before they officially announce his new contract.The Rangers expect him to be declared healthy. "We got every test done to figure that out," Kinsler said. "Hopefully they'll all come back positive." If so, the Rangers will hold a news conference on Wednesday to announce a new contract that will keep Kinsler in Texas through 2017, with a club option for 2018. "I'm really happy for him, he's one of the best second basemen in the league," outfielder Nelson Cruz said. "I couldn't be happier." "Well deserved," outfielder David Murphy said. "He is as complete of a player as you'll see in the big leagues and has the best instincts of any player I've ever played with. He loves the game. He's the ultimate competitor."
Napoli among players next in line for extension
ARLINGTON -- Rangers catcher Mike Napoli was sitting at his locker before Tuesday's game with the Mariners when Ian Kinsler walked by."You're next," Kinsler said. Napoli smiled and shrugged. "I don't know," Napoli said. "I haven't heard anything. I have no idea." Napoli, outfielder Josh Hamilton and pitcher Colby Lewis are among those who can be free agents after this season. The Rangers have worked out a five-year deal with Kinsler. Now the question is who might be next to get a contract extension. The Rangers have had multiple ongoing contract discussions with both Hamilton and Napoli, and they continue to do so, according to club officials. The possibility remains the Rangers might be able to get something done at some point during the season, but nothing is close right now. "I guess we'll see," Napoli said. "I don't know, but I hope we can get something done. The bottom line is I want to be here, but I really don't know how it is going to work out." Opening Day was last week but Kinsler's deal is just the latest in a series of contract extensions being handed out around Major League Baseball. The Reds announced on Tuesday they have reached a six-year, $72.5 million extension with infielder Brandon Phillips and the Indians announced a five-year deal with catcher Carlos Santana.
Yu breaks historic ground with first MLB win
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers' Yu Darvish was the winning pitcher on Monday night in an 11-5 victory over the Mariners, making him the first pitcher since 1910 to win his Major League debut despite giving up four runs in the first inning.
The last to do it was Bill Steele of the 1910 Cardinals, giving up five runs in the first inning in a 14-7 victory over the Reds.Darvish ended up going 5 2/3 innings, allowing five runs on eight hits, four walks and five strikeouts. "The only thing I can say is it's not how you start, it's how you finish," manager Ron Washington said. "He finished strong. He could have easily thrown in the towel, but he didn't. He fits in well with this clubhouse because we never throw in the towel. I do feel it will get better." Washington said Darvish learned a valuable lesson about what it's like to pitch for the Rangers. "You keep battling and we'll get back in the ballgame," Washington said. "For his first time, maybe that's an experience he needed. To see what he did, to take the baseball and get into the sixth inning, I was proud of him. He knows we were behind him. As long as he was fighting, we were going to fight for him too." Darvish is only the second Rangers pitcher to win his first big league start despite giving up five or more runs. Paul Mirabella did so on July 28, 1978, against the White Sox.
Rangers pitcher Yoshinori Tateyama, who is on the disabled list with stiffness in his lower back, will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Round Rock on Wednesday.
Rangers manager Ron Washington used infielder Alberto Gonzalez at third base in the ninth inning on Tuesday. The Rangers led, 11-5, at the time, and now infielder Brandon Snyder is the only player who hasn't been in a game. Said Washington, "I blew that one ... I should have had him at first base." Washington said Snyder has been working on his outfield play with first-base coach Gary Pettis. Washington on Ian Kinsler as a clubhouse leader: "He's matured into a lieutenant. We have a couple of generals and a couple of captains, he was a sergeant, now he's a lieutenant. Kinsler has gained his respect every year, not only in our clubhouse but around the league." Kinsler's home run on Monday night was only the second by a Rangers hitter on a 3-0 pitch since the beginning of the 2010 season. Michael Young hit one on May 29, 2011, off Royals pitcher Aaron Crow.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.