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Sunday, March 31, 2013
Matchup: Matt Harrison vs. Bud Norris

By Todd Wills



HOUSTON -- The Rangers finally get the 2013 season started with left-hander Matt Harrison getting the call for the opener against Houston right-hander Bud Norris. The game starts at 7:05 p.m. on ESPN and ESPN 103.3 FM.

Harrison (18-11, 3.29 ERA in 2012): Harrison makes his first Opening Day start … the left-hander won 18 games last season, third most in the American League and with that earned a five-year, $55 million contract … He had a 3.29 ERA in 2012, seventh best in the AL … Harrison threw 93 pitches in his final spring start on Tuesday for Triple-A Round Rock against Seattle's Triple-A team … he also had five shutout innings against the Dodgers this spring … Harrison has won 32 games over his past two seasons … Harrison is 0-1 with a 5.14 ERA lifetime against Houston … Harrison has never started a regular-season game in March, but he is 7-6 with a 4.89 ERA in 17 career starts in April.

Norris (7-13, 4.65 ERA in 2012): Norris also makes his first Opening Day start … He pitched well at Minute Maid Park last year, going 4-1 with a 1.71 ERA and 82 strikeouts … Norris makes his first start against the Rangers … Norris was 2-0 with a 3.92 ERA in five spring starts.

Hitters: Carlos Pena (0-for-8), Chris Carter (0-for-7) and Ronny Cedeno (0-for-3) are the only Astros who have faced Harrison and none with good results … Lance Berkman (1-for-6, HR) and Geovany Soto (1-for-6, HR) are the only Rangers who have faced Norris.