DeGrom To Start Opening Day for Rangers

Texas Rangers pitcher Jacob deGrom | Image by Texas Rangers, Twitter

Free-agent signee Jacob deGrom will start Opening Day for the Texas Rangers as they begin the 2023 Major League Baseball season against the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday at Globe Life Field.

Rangers Manager Bruce Bochy confirmed the announcement while meeting with the media on Friday.

“You’re talking [about] one of the elite pitchers in the game,” Bochy said when asked about the decision. “We’re excited about announcing this. I know it’s an honor for him. You know how humble he is. He’s on schedule to go Opening Day.”

DeGrom battled a minor side injury throughout the spring that kept him out for multiple weeks, so Bochy anticipates being careful with him to start the season.

“Early, we had to hold him back a bit, but we think he’s good to go,” Bochy acknowledged. “We have the day off after Opening Day, so we can cover him. We’re not looking for him to take us real[ly] deep in the game or anything, so this just makes all the sense in the world to us.”

Bochy did not want to speculate about deGrom’s pitching count, but when pressed, he admitted, “We could probably get him up somewhere around the four-inning area, looking [at] 60, 65 [pitches], somewhere in there.”

DeGrom will start the spring finale for the Rangers against the San Diego Padres on Saturday. He has made one start so far, pitching three innings while allowing no runs.

The Rangers signed deGrom to a five-year, $185 million deal in December after nine years as the ace of the New York Mets.

In New York, he won National League Rookie of the Year and two Cy Young Awards while making four All-Star appearances.

DeGrom will be the first Opening Day starter for the Rangers with multiple Cy Young Awards and just the third with at least one. He is 1-0 in two career Opening Day starts.

Bochy also mentioned that Martin Perez would start the third game of the season, followed by Jon Gray and Andrew Heaney — meaning Nathan Eovaldi would start the second game based on the projected rotation.

The first Opening Day pitch is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. CT.

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