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TOR@TB: Price fans six in Opening Day start

Michael Choice's right-handed bat will be in the Rangers' lineup on Saturday. It will be his first start of the season.

"He'll be in there somewhere, either DH or the outfield," manager Ron Washington said. "I just haven't decided yet."

Washington wants Choice in there because the Rangers are going up against left-hander David Price. Over his seven-year career, Price has held left-handed hitters to a .197 batting average, fifth lowest among active lefties with 750 batters faced. Their .533 OPS against Price is the lowest among that group.

Rangers designated hitter Mitch Moreland is 1-for-3 in his career during the regular season and 0-for-5 with two strikeouts in the playoffs against Price. He is not the only left-handed hitter in the Rangers' lineup who has had trouble against Price. Shin-Soo Choo is 2-for-13 with five strikeouts, Prince Fielder is 1-for-6 and Leonys Martin is 0-for-3.

But Price has struggled in his career against the Rangers. He is 2-4 with a 5.30 ERA in nine career starts in the regular season. That's his highest ERA against any American League team and the ninth highest by an active pitcher with at least 50 innings pitched against the Rangers. He is also 0-3 with a 4.66 ERA in three career postseason starts.

"He is one of the best pitchers in the league, top three every year," Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre said. "He has been consistent every year. I don't have the answer as to why we're so good against him. All I know is we compete hard against any pitcher on the mound."

But Price did beat the Rangers, 5-2, in the Wild Card tie-breaker game last year, pitching a complete game.

"Just showing up in the moment…that was a very big game for us," Price said. "It meant a lot to our organization, all my teammates, and just for myself to be able to step up in that moment. That was probably the coolest win I ever got. ... That was cooler than pitching in the World Series to me. That was my game. It was fun."

Outfielder Alex Rios has had good success against Price, with 11 hits, including two home runs, in 27 at-bats against him. His .407 batting average and .815 slugging percentage are the second highest by a hitter with at least 20 plate appearances against Price. Elvis Andrus is 7-for-20 (.350) against Price while Beltre is 9-for-27 (.333) with one home run.

"They've always got such an extremely tough team," Price said. "They've got a lineup one through nine that can absolutely do damage against you. I remember Mitch Mooreland hitting in the nine hole two years ago I think with 20-something homers. It's a tough lineup. They always find themselves there at the end of the year. With teams like that you know you have to come out and play well because you know they're going to be ready to play as well."

Rangers: Martinez makes Majors debut
Nick Martinez makes his Major League debut when he starts against the Rays. On Sunday, Yu Darvish will start for the Rangers. This will be the third time the Rangers have used six different starters in the first six games.

They did so in 1992 with Nolan Ryan, Kevin Brown, Jose Guzman, Jeff Robinson, Bobby Witt and Brian Bohanon. They did again in 2002 with Chan Ho Park, Kenny Rogers, Dave Burba, Doug Davis, Ismael Valdez and Hideki Irabu. Both times their Opening Day pitcher -- Ryan and Park -- went on the disabled list after just one start. The Rangers have never used seven starters in the first seven games and won't this season. Tanner Scheppers, who pitched on Opening Day, is scheduled to pitch Monday against the Red Sox.

Rays: Myers Bobblehead Night
The Rays will give out Wil Myers Rookie of the Year Bobbleheads to the first 20,000 fans at Tropicana Field on Saturday. The Rays are hoping for another 10,000. Since 2008, the Rays are 50-17 when they put at least 30,000 fans in the stands. They probably won't get there on Saturday, with the Florida Gators playing in the NCAA Final Four.

But the Rays are still tough at home. They went into their three-game series with the Rangers with a record of 552-425 (.565) at home since the beginning of 2008. That was the year the Rays changed their name and they have the second best home record in that time next to the Yankees.

Worth noting:
• The Rangers and the Rays are the only two teams to have won 90-plus games in each of the past four seasons.

• The Rangers are likely to sent pitcher Daniel McCutchen back to Triple-A Round Rock on Saturday to make room for Martinez. McCutchen does have an option left.

• Expect David DeJesus to be back in the leadoff spot for the Rays with a right-hander on the mound for the Rangers. He had a double and a triple on Thursday afternoon after missing a couple of games with a bruised right foot. He did not start on Friday with left-hander Joe Saunders pitching for the Rangers.

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