Two former top Rangers Draft picks will face off on Tuesday when Major League Baseball celebrates Jackie Robinson Day.
Robbie Ross Jr., who was the Rangers' second-round pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, will be making his third start of the season when he faces Mariners right-hander Blake Beavan. Beavan was the Rangers' No. 1 pick (17th overall) in the 2007 Draft, before being traded to Seattle in 2010, as part of the Cliff Lee deal.
Beavan rejoins the Mariners after going 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in two starts for Triple-A Tacoma. He lost out on a bid to earn a rotation berth in Spring Training, but will be added to the 25-man roster on Tuesday and make his eighth career appearance against his former organization.
"It's kind of the old saying, 'Everything happens for a reason, right?'" said Beavan, who grew up in nearby Irving. "It's nice to be home. It's awful nice to be back with the big league club. That's the main goal. It doesn't really matter if we are in California or Texas, I'd rather be wearing this [uniform] than Tacoma.
"It's just fun to be here and see all the guys and catch up with them and I'm just looking forward to [Tuesday]. It'll be another fun time to get to start here."
Beavan is 3-3 with a 2.84 ERA in six starts and one relief appearance against the Rangers in his career. That puts him in first place in a unique group of pitchers.
Beavan has more career wins against the Rangers than any other pitcher taken by them in the first or supplemental round, after leaving the organization. John Danks, R.A. Dickey, Kevin Brown, Bobby Witt and Ron Darling all had two wins against the Rangers after leaving the organization.
"I've pitched quite a few times here, and a bunch of times against those guys in general," Beavan said. "But their lineup is definitely different compared to what it was the first couple years. I'll have plenty of time today to do some video watching of some of those guys.
"I haven't faced a couple of those guys but maybe once, so I'll have to get a game plan together and just keep doing what I've been doing since I left Spring Training really. I don't want to change too much of what I've had success with and what my game plan is going to be going forward."
Ross, who has a 2.03 ERA in 12 career relief appearances against the Mariners, will be making his third start after spending two seasons in the bullpen. He went 5 1/3 innings in his last start against the Red Sox last Wednesday in Boston, allowing just one unearned run on two hits. But he walked six and threw 98 pitches.
"I just need to go out and attack and not be as fine," Ross said. "Work quick innings and not throw so many pitches, get some quick outs."
In celebration of Jackie Robinson Day, players from both teams will all wear No. 42. The day honors the man who broke baseball's color barrier and, like Robinson, both managers are of African-American heritage.
"It's nice that Major League Baseball puts this day into the baseball season," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "It's a compliment to how far the game has come and it is recognition of one of the greatest players in the game."
Mariners: Hart not close to outfield work yet
Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon feels designated hitter Corey Hart is healthy enough to move into the cleanup spot, after batting fifth in the early going, but the big man is not close to playing right field yet after missing all of 2013 following microfracture surgeries on both knees.
McClendon said Hart is "feeling pretty good from a physical standpoint" after dealing with a sore biceps late in Spring Training. His knees have held up fine to this point, but the skipper has backed off from his early spring hope that Hart could play quite a bit in the outfield.
"I'm not so sure about that one," McClendon said Monday. "We're trying to work it, but we'll see. My biggest thing is to make sure he's healthy. It's the stopping with the knee, when he runs hard and then has to stop or cut, that's the toughest part. The arm is secondary. We'll keep working him out there and see. At some point we'll get him out there, but I don't think we're close right now."
Rangers: Moreland expected back in lineup
Designated hitter Mitch Moreland should be back in the Rangers lineup on Tuesday with a right-hander on the mound. Moreland was on the bench Sunday and Monday with left-handers on the mound, so that Michael Choice could get a couple of starts.
Moreland is 0-for-6 with three strikeouts against left-handers so far this season. His only start against a left-hander was on Opening Day against Lee of the Phillies.
• Mariners All-Star right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma will throw another bullpen session on Tuesday in Arlington and then graduate to a 45-pitch simulated game on Saturday in Miami as he works his way back from a sprained tendon in his right middle finger that wiped out his entire spring. If all goes well, Iwakuma will then be sent out on a Minor League rehab stint, most likely with Triple-A Tacoma.
• Yu Darvish said he is ready for his start on Wednesday against the Mariners. Darvish threw a bullpen on Sunday without any problems with a cut on the top of his right thumb. Darvish cut himself during Friday's start against the Astros. Said Darvish, "Even when I was throwing it didn't hurt me. I've done this many times."
• Elvis Andrus is hitting .133 (2-for-15) against Beavan in his career. That's his sixth-lowest average against any pitcher with at least 15 career plate appearances.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.