ARLINGTON -- Commissioner Rob Manfred will attend the Rangers' home opener against the Astros on Thursday and participate in the ceremonial first pitch that celebrates the opening of the Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy in West Dallas.The ceremonial first pitches will be thrown by Audrey Robledo, 10, of the Golden
ARLINGTON -- Commissioner Rob Manfred will attend the Rangers' home opener against the Astros on Thursday and participate in the ceremonial first pitch that celebrates the opening of the Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy in West Dallas.
The ceremonial first pitches will be thrown by Audrey Robledo, 10, of the Golden Rule Charter School in Dallas and Benjamin King, 13, from Harry Stone Montessori Academy in Dallas. Both are participating in programs at the academy and will be escorted to the mound by Manfred.
The Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy at Mercy Street Complex opened last December with the official ribbon-cutting ceremony. The state-of-the-art facility provides year-round opportunities on a 17-acre site that includes five outdoor fields and the indoor Globe Life Training Center. Manfred has been instrumental in creating additional initiatives to promote and grow youth baseball and softball participation.
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The national anthem will be sung by Kyle Park, an Austin-based country singer-songwriter. Joel Lagrone will precede it with a live performance of "Texas, Our Texas." Following "The Star Spangled Banner," there will be a flyover of planes from the Cavanaugh Flight Museum in Addison. The colors and a giant flag will be presented by the United States Air Force.
The game is scheduled to start at 2:40 p.m. CT on Thursday. Cash parking lots open at 9:30 a.m. and the ballpark gates at 11:30 a.m. Fans will undergo Major League Baseball mandated metal detection screening before entering the ballpark.
Robinson, Leclerc make team
The Rangers have not officially announced their 25-man Opening Day roster, but utility player Drew Robinson and pitcher Jose Leclerc have been told they will be on it. The Rangers will open the season with four starters, eight relievers and 13 position players.
The final move remaining with the Opening Day roster is adding right-hander Kevin Jepsen. He was in camp on a non-roster invite and has made the team as a reliever. The Rangers need to clear a spot on the 40-man roster and could put reliever Ricky Rodriguez on the 60-day disabled list. He is sidelined with biceps tendinitis.
The Rangers made several other moves official on Tuesday. Pitcher Steve Delabar, outfielder Destin Hood and catcher Brett Nicholas were assigned to Triple-A Round Rock. They were told last week they would not be on the Opening Day roster.
The Rangers also reassigned pitchers Shawn Tolleson, Chi Chi Gonzalez, Joe Palumbo and Anthony Gose to Minor League camp. That means they will remain in Arizona in extended Spring Training. Tolleson, Gonzalez, Palumbo and Edinson Volquez are all in different stages of recovering from Tommy John surgery.
• Catcher Robinson Chirinos rejoined the team on Tuesday after his wife Heidy gave birth to a son, Julian Alejandro, early Saturday morning.
• The Rangers were rained out on Tuesday. Mike Minor, who was scheduled to pitch, threw 40 pitches in the indoor batting cage. He is scheduled to start Sunday against the Athletics.
• The club plans to work out Wednesday afternoon at Globe Life Park in preparation for Opening Day.
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.