Phillies to face righty Scheppers on opening day

Phillies to face righty Scheppers on opening day

March 26, 2014, 2:45 pm
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Right-handed starter Tanner Scheppers will be making his first big-league start when he takes the mound on opening day against the Phillies. (USA Today Images)

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Texas Rangers have announced their starting pitching rotation for the season-opening series against the Phillies.

Right-hander Tanner Scheppers will start against Cliff Lee in Monday’s opener.

Lefty Martin Perez will oppose A.J. Burnett on Tuesday night.

Another lefty, Robbie Ross, will start Wednesday night against Kyle Kendrick. Ross has never started a major-league game.

Scheppers, a first-round draft pick in 2009, will be making his first big-league start. He has a 2.64 ERA in 115 career relief appearances. He was named opening day starter in place of Yu Darvish, who has been dealing with neck problems all spring.

Not having to face Darvish is a break for the Phillies. The Rangers’ ace finished second in the American League Cy Young voting last season and led the majors with 277 strikeouts in 209 2/3 innings.

Darvish isn’t the only Ranger hurting. Starting catcher Geovany Soto and second baseman Jurickson Profar are both out for up to three months. Soto has a knee injury; Profar a shoulder injury.

Roberto Hernandez will start the Phillies’ fourth game of the season a week from Friday in Chicago.

The Phils will use four starting pitchers until April 13 when they first will need a fifth.