Rangers' starting rotation taking shape

As we move closer to the start of the Texas Rangers' season, the obvious questions about the starting rotation pop up with more frequency.

We know Colby Lewis is the opening day starter, but we don't know if the Rangers will put left-handers Derek Holland and Matt Harrison back-to-back in the rotation. Or will they move Yu Darvish to the third spot, so they won't have consecutive left-handers in the rotation.

The idea behind breaking up Harrison and Holland is to make sure hitters don't get locked into facing the same type of pitcher on consecutive days. Then again, few people make a big deal out of having opponents face right-handers back-to-back.

Theoretically, the Rangers might want to split up Holland and Harrison to make sure the bullpen doesn't get taxed with Darvish and Feliz pitching back-to-back. Neither has ever made a big league start, though Darvish dominated in Japan for seven years; Feliz has not started since the minors.

"We don't now what Nefti is going to give us because he hasn't done it at this level yet," Ron Washington said, "but I expect Darvish to take the ball into the seventh or eighth inning most of the time. He'll have his tough days like everybody else, but he's a horse."

Washington said the Rangers probably won't have a formal discussion about their rotation until everyone goes through one more time. Washington did say the Holland and Harrison deserved to be ranked second and third in the rotation entering spring training.

"That's respect," he said. "Sometimes, when you give respect it creates the kind of mindset that they've had so far in spring training."