New AL West foes Astros, Rangers open 2013 season

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 30, 2013 at 6:25 pm •  Published: March 30, 2013
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Texas is still expected to contend in the AL West despite the loss of several key players, most notably 2010 AL MVP Josh Hamilton. Also gone are catcher Mike Napoli and infielder Michael Young.

The Rangers and Astros have traditionally played a home and home series each season, so facing each other is nothing new. But this year these teams, separated by about 250 miles, will meet 19 times.

"They're close and it's a natural rivalry, and we hope to build that up and make it a good tradition for the state of Texas," Crane said.

Rangers manager Ron Washington knows better than to take any team lightly, regardless of expectations.

"I don't look at their payroll, I just look at the days we play them and make sure we don't think any games for granted, because on any given day anyone can get beat," Washington said. "It's not the best team that wins; it's the team that plays the best."

Washington has known Porter for years, and believes he'll help speed Houston's development.

"They have some young talent, inexperience, but believe me, they're going to play," Washington said. "I still think that it's going to be a tough year for them, but they're not going to be anybody's doormat, I think Bo Porter and his staff will see to that."

Lance Berkman is in his first season with the Rangers after two seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals. The slugger spent the first the first 11 ½ years of his career with the Astros.

"It's going to be weird," he said of Houston's move to the AL. "The Astros spent 50 years in the National League and now to think of them as an American League franchise is going to be tough. I guess we'll have to get used to it because, like it or not, that's the situation ... I don't like it because I like having a National League franchise in Texas."

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AP Sports Writer Stephen Hawkins and AP freelancer Tim Price contributed to this report.

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