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Friday, April 6, 2012
Pregame buzz: Nelson Cruz ready to play

By Richard Durrett

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Players were busy getting their stuff ready for batting practice and Opening Day on Friday morning. And I will say, there was a general level of excitement. And why shouldn't there be? It's Opening Day, folks.

A few quick notes:

• OF Nelson Cruz was trying on a large black elbow pad to protect the area that was bruised Tuesday. He said he was going to take batting practice with it and then decide if he wanted to use it while hitting in the game.

"If I don't like it, I won't use it," Cruz said.

• The Rangers' starting lineup today involves the same players who participated on Opening Day last season, except for David Murphy. In a 9-5 win over Boston last year, the Rangers had Mike Napoli at first base and Yorvit Torrealba at catcher -- as they do today. But David Murphy was on the bench with Julio Borbon in center field.

"He [Murphy] earned this job," manager Ron Washington said. "We've all known what kind of player David Murphy is. He'll have fun out there."

Murphy had just 23 at-bats against lefties in spring training but hit .435. That's a vast improvement over his .215 average against lefties in 2011. He is 1-for-7 off White Sox starter John Danks, so we'll see how Murphy does.

Mitch Moreland is expected to play first base this weekend with right-handers scheduled to pitch for the White Sox.

• I've already seen a fair number of fans wearing Yu Darvish jerseys. For those wondering, MLB released the most popular jersey sales from 2011. Josh Hamilton was No. 4 and Ian Kinsler No. 16. They are the only Rangers in the top 20. Derek Jeter had the top-selling jersey.