Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Updated: February 23, 10:02 AM ET
Rangers to start C.J. Wilson in opener
By Richard Durrett
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Texas Rangers left-handed pitcher C.J. Wilson was named the club's Opening Day starter by manager Ron Washington on Tuesday.
It's no surprise that Wilson, who led the club with 15 wins in 2010, will be the first pitcher on the mound when the Rangers open the season against the Red Sox on April 1.
"It's cool," Wilson said. "That gives me a chance to make 34 or 35 starts."
Washington said Wilson earned the role based on how consistent he was in 2010, when he was 15-8 with a 3.35 ERA in his first full season as a starting pitcher.
"He took the ball and did the job," Washington said. "He never backed down. He battled all year for us."
"A lot comes down to having perfect mechanics," said Wilson, who is to start the Rangers' exhibition opener this weekend. "Closing, starting, whatever, you finally realize you know how to pitch. You just have to get your brain to do it. Especially for me, ever since the Tommy John surgery [in 2003], it's been a matter of trying to get my brain and my body aligned."
Wilson is excited about the prospect of even more fans at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington in 2011. More than 121,000 people registered for the Opening Day lottery and the club is selling more season-ticket equivalents than they have in years.
"People care more," Wilson said. "The fans love winning and we won last year. I hope they keep showing up. The more fans that show up, the better we play."
Wilson's success and longevity in the clubhouse -- only Michael Young has been on the Rangers' roster longer -- have helped him develop into a leader. Wilson says his goals for this season are much the same as the ones he had last year.
"I feel these goals take me somewhere," he said. "They're taking me in the right direction, I just have to change the way I'm working for them."
Wilson was 3-0 with a 0.86 ERA in 21 innings over three starts against the Red Sox in 2010.
Richard Durrett covers the Rangers for ESPNDallas.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.