The Texas Rangers are bringing a full complement of major leaguers to its exhibition game today against Coastal Carolina University at BB&T Coastal Field, and the team's fifth starter to begin the regular season, Alexi Ogando, will take the mound to open the game.
Rangers manager Ron Washington said Ogando should throw 70 to 80 pitches, and the Rangers opening-day starting lineup will play for the first five innings.
The nine-inning contest is at 6:35 p.m. and gates open at 4 p.m. for the teams' batting practice.
The list of players the Rangers say they intend to have in Myrtle Beach includes just about all of the team's 40-man major league roster with the exception of opening-day starter C.J. Lewis and injured pitcher Tommy Hunter.
Players from the reigning American League champions scheduled to appear include 2010 AL Most Valuable Player Josh Hamilton; pitchers Neftali Feliz and Derek Holland; infielders Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre, Ian Kinsler, Mitch Moreland and Michael Young; and outfielders Julio Borbon, Nelson Cruz, Endy Chavez and David Murphy.
General manager Jon Daniels and assistant GM Thad Levine are expected to make the trip as well.
Andrus, an AL All-Star last season, appeared in 99 games for the Pelicans in 2007 before he was dealt late in the season to the Rangers as part of the Atlanta Braves' trade for first baseman Mark Teixeira.
The Pelicans signed a four-year player development contract with the Rangers last September after being the Braves' Advanced-Class A affiliate since their inception in 1999.
"I really had a lot of fun here," Andrus said last month. "It's a great city to play in. Sometimes it's a little dangerous because I was like 18 when I was here, and you've got everything: you've got a party, you've got a great stadium, great city, a beach there. ...
"I really enjoyed playing here and to be back in here now as a Texas Ranger affiliate it's going to be fun."
The Rangers were expected to arrive from Arizona late Monday night and plan to depart Myrtle Beach on Wednesday morning for their final exhibition game that night in Round Rock, Texas. Andrus has told his teammates they'll enjoy Myrtle Beach and BB&T Field, and said he was excited to learn of the exhibition game when it was announced in September.
"I was really happy," Andrus said. "I was really glad to come back here and play. I know there's going to be a lot of people who saw me play when I was in the minor leagues. It's going to be a great experience."
Coastal Carolina is scheduled to start senior left-hander Matt Rein, a Texas native who played at Langham Creek High School in Houston.
Ogando, a 27-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic, is expected to be moved into the starting rotation from the Rangers bullpen because starter Hunter suffered a strained groin muscle Thursday and will start the season on the disabled list.
Ogando appeared in 44 games last season - all in relief - in his first taste of the major leagues. He went 4-1 with an impressive 1.30 ERA, 39 strikeouts and 16 walks allowed in 412/3 innings, and opponents batted just .208 against him.
CCU pitchers aren't expected to throw more than two innings each, and Myrtle Beach Pelicans general manager Scott Brown said Rangers pitchers may take up to four of CCU's innings on the mound at the end of the game if they have pitchers who they feel need work. Those pitchers would throw to a Rangers catcher.
Though the Myrtle Beach area has endured a couple days of rain, the infield at BB&T Coastal Field has been covered by a tarp since Saturday and field conditions aren't expected to be an issue.
"We weren't taking any chances with this game, and the outfield drains well," Brown said. "I'm just happy to see the sun shining in the forecast for [today]."
Today's forecast calls for clear skies and temperatures reaching 60 degrees.
Brown said there aren't any organized opportunities set up for spectators to get autographs, though Rangers senior director of media relations Rich Rice said Rangers players traditionally sign autographs at exhibitions and he expects them to today.