Our timeline takes us to February and March, as the Texas Rangers spent time getting ready for the season at spring training:
Feb. 3: Josh Hamilton apologizes publicly for his reported relapse with alcohol earlier in the week. The club and Hamilton decide to put negotiations on a long-term deal on the backburner so he can focus on his family and preparing for the season.
Feb. 8: The Rangers sign Elvis Andrus to a three-year deal, tying him up through his arbitration years. The deal is worth $14.4 million.
Feb. 21: Yu Darvish arrives in Surprise, Ariz., with plenty of television cameras and Japanese media in attendance. He threw 30 pitches in a bullpen session to catcher Luis Martinez, who was impressed (and became a famous face in Japan).
Feb. 24: Hamilton, speaking for the first time at spring training, says he doesn’t feel like he owes the Rangers a hometown discount. He later clarifies his remarks, saying he wants to stay in Texas if a deal can be worked out and that the Rangers will get the first crack at him in free agency.
Feb. 29: MLB announces it will investigate the Rangers’ agreement with Dominican teenager Jairo Beras amid concerns about his age. The Rangers believe he’s 17 years old and can be signed. Rival teams and MLB thought he was 16.
March 2: Darvish makes first appearance in a game environment in an intrasquad game. It had to be the most well-attended intrasquad game ever on a back field in Surprise.
March 7: Darvish makes his first Cactus League start, throwing two scoreless innings with three strikeouts while allowing two doubles. He pitched in front of about 100 media members.
March 15: Minor league games begin in Surprise, but even before that Jurickson Profar turns heads with his play in the field and with his bat.
March 16: Mike Napoli, who was sidelined with tightness in his groin, was back in the lineup in Cactus League games.
March 20: Derek Holland and the Rangers agree to a five-year, $28.5 million deal with two option years that should make him a part of the rotation for the long haul. Signing up Holland for seven years shows the faith the club has in the young left-hander, and Holland’s willingness to put two club options shows how badly he wants to be in Texas.
March 21: Neftali Feliz comes out of his start after just three innings with a tight shoulder. The right-hander backs off the shoulder and ends up throwing in some minor league games before eventually returning to the rotation.
March 25: Robbie Ross continues a strong spring training and pushes for a spot on the club. He didn’t allow a run on one hit in two innings of work against the Angels.
March 30: Darvish dominates the Colorado Rockies, throwing 98 pitches in six innings and allowing three runs on six hits with a walk and 11 strikeouts in his final spring start.
April 1: Ross makes the club as the rookie ends up out-pitching the other left-handed candidates in camp.