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Rangers’ pitching plans mapped out for Cactus League opener, beyond

(AP photo/Tony Gutierrez)

 

SURPRISE, Ariz. — Right-hander Dane Dunning is scheduled to start Friday for the Rangers in their annual Cactus League opener against the Royals, pitching coach Mike Maddux confirmed.

Left-hander Cody Bradford would follow Dunning. Both are scheduled to pitch one inning as starters begin the long buildup for the regular season.

Nothing should be read into Bradford coming out of the bullpen. He remains a candidate, if not the leading one, for the fifth spot in the rotation, and he will work as a starter next week.

Nathan Eovaldi, Andrew Heaney and Jon Gray will follow in the spring rotation before Dunning and Bradford start games five and six.

Eovaldi is the front-runner to be the Opening Day starter after being an All-Star selection last season and going 5-0 in the postseason, including the win in the World Series clincher after six scoreless innings. If the rotation holds, he could be in line for the March 28 opener against the Cubs.

An important thing to remember is that a spring rotation is fluid. Eovaldi, Gray and Jacob deGrom all missed time last spring with minor ailments, and Martin Perez missed time in camp while pitching in the World Baseball Classic.

Glenn Otto, who is no longer with the organization, started the Cactus League opener last year.

With B games available early in camp and with minor-league games starting in mid-March, pitchers can be shifted to the back fields rather than pitching in the Cactus League. The Rangers used to do that with Yu Darvish when he was scheduled against American League West foes.

 

 

Jeff Wilson, jeff@rangerstoday.com

Jeff Wilson

Sports reporter for two decades. Sports fan for life. Covers the Texas Rangers. Graduate of TCU. Colorado native. Author of Purple Passion: TCU Football Legends (https://t.co/2fmXLyympx). Follow me on Twitter at @JeffWilsonTXR

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