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Manfred visits 'amazing' Texas youth academy

MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

ARLINGTON -- Rob Manfred took in his first game at Globe Life Park as Commissioner on Thursday. He was also given two glimpses of the future during his Opening Day visit.

Manfred spent the morning touring the Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy at the Mercy Street Sports Complex. He had visited the site during the academy's construction, but this was his first time seeing the finished product.

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ARLINGTON -- Rob Manfred took in his first game at Globe Life Park as Commissioner on Thursday. He was also given two glimpses of the future during his Opening Day visit.

Manfred spent the morning touring the Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy at the Mercy Street Sports Complex. He had visited the site during the academy's construction, but this was his first time seeing the finished product.

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"I was blown away by the academy," Manfred said. "I have been to all of them, and as the years have gone by, each one has gotten better. ... You could not ask for a better one. Indoor and outdoor capacity is amazing. I got a full description of the programming they make available there. It really is impressive."

The Rangers officially opened the academy last December. The 17-acre site features five outdoor fields and the indoor Globe Life Training Center. One of the fields was named for Dodgers pitcher and Dallas native Clayton Kershaw. There are also workout sites and fields named for current and former Rangers.

"A great example of clubs and players working together for the good of the game," Manfred said.

Manfred participated in the Opening Day first-pitch ceremony with Benjamin King, 13, and Audrey Robledo, 10, from Dallas. Both are participating in programs at the academy.

Manfred also went to an observation deck in the upper-right-field level of Globe Life Park to observe and get an update on the construction of Texas Live! across the street. The venue is expected to open in August, and Globe Life Field is scheduled for 2020.

"All I can say is hats off to the city of the Arlington for the commitment, [as well as] the Rangers and [co-chairman] Ray Davis," Manfred said. "This is going to be an unbelievable complex for the fans here in Arlington."

Rangers beat

• The Rangers held a moment of silence before the game for former Major League outfielder Rusty Staub, who passed away on Thursday morning. Staub played with both the Astros and Rangers. Also remembered were former customer service rep Anna King and former club executive Norm Lyons, both of whom passed away since last season.

Martin Perez, starting the season on the disabled list, is scheduled to pitch five innings and 90 pitches in a Triple-A Round Rock intrasquad game on Friday. Tony Barnette, who is also on the DL, is expected to pitch one inning in the game.

• Outfielder Carlos Tocci changed his uniform number from No. 76 in Spring Training to No. 15 for the regular season. Said Tocci: "I don't want people thinking I am a defensive lineman."

• Manager Jeff Banister wants to get all of his position players into a game during the four-game series against the Astros. Juan Centeno is expected to get his first start on Sunday.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

Texas Rangers