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Rangers set for packed opening weekend

HOUSTON -- The Rangers' opening weekend against the Angels will include honors for third baseman Adrian Beltre and catcher A.J. Pierzynski, along with a first-pitch ceremony on Sunday by Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M.

The Rangers' home opener is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. CT on Friday against the Angels, with Derek Holland on the mound. The game is a complete sellout. Robbie Parker, the father of 6-year-old Emilie Parker, who was killed in the horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, 2012, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

The national anthem will be performed by Texas country recording artist Jack Ingram. The United States Air Force Honor Guard from Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas, will present the colors, and members of the United States Army, Marines, Air Force and Navy will unfurl oversized American and Texas flags in the outfield and on Greene's Hill, respectively. Tech. Sgt. Shonda Winkler of the 531st Air Force Band will sing "God Bless America" in the middle of the seventh inning.

On Saturday, Beltre will receive his 2012 American League Gold Glove Award for defensive excellence, and Pierzynski will receive his Silver Slugger Award for being the top hitting catcher in the AL last season. It is Beltre's fourth Gold Glove and Pierzynski's first Silver Slugger.

Saturday's game starts at 3:05 p.m., and there are approximately 3,000 tickets remaining. Sunday's game is a 7:05 p.m. start, and there are approximately 12,000 tickets remaining.

Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy while leading the Aggies to an 11-2 record and a Cotton Bowl win over Oklahoma in the school's first year in the Southeastern Conference. The Texas A&M University Singing Cadets will perform the national anthem and "God Bless America."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger.
Read More: Texas Rangers, A.J. Pierzynski, Adrian Beltre