SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Finally, the real games get started. Well, at least the real games of spring training. The Texas Rangers open the Cactus League Sunday afternoon against Surprise co-tenant Kansas City Royals. It comes with some measure of intrigue with manager Ron Washington rolling out a new batting order that will feature a speed-laden top of the order.
With that, here's your daily six items to wrap up a light Saturday of work:
1. Ian Kinsler is Washington's choice to lead off this season and that starts with Sunday's spring opener. Kinsler, who led off in 2009, said he's excited about hitting in the first inning and setting the tone, although it doesn't necessarily mean that he's going to sit back and watch pitches go by. Kinsler will be followed by Elvis Andrus, giving the Rangers excellent speed and running opportunities with a speed-driven 1-2 punch.
2. Michael Young takes over as the designated hitter and he'll move from second in the lineup to sixth, where he should get an opportunity to drive in more runs. "I do want to expand my offensive game a little more this year. There's a lot of things I want to do better," Young said.
3. Brandon Webb is making progress. He has finished up more than a week of long toss and will throw off of a mound on Sunday. He won't pitch in the game against the Royals, but this is a step in the right direction.
4. One pitcher who will throw in the game is young hopeful Tanner Sheppers. He is expected to get one inning of work. It is his second spring and he said he is concentrating on his location. Sunday he said he'll be looking to go down and away.
5. The Rangers came to terms with five players Saturday, including All-Star shortstop Elvis Andrus. . Talk about your bargains. The third-year player will earn just $452,180. Not to worry, he will get his in a matter of time.
6. You can listen to Sunday's game (2:05 p.m.) via webcast at texasrangers.com. Rangers executive VP of communications John Blake and pre-game/post-game host Bryan Dolgin will bring you the call. Dolgan recently joined ESPN 103.3 FM, the new flagship of Rangers baseball to bring you everything Rangers before and after every game this season.