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Fielder, Murphy hit homers in Globe Life Park debuts

Opening Day starter Scheppers allows a run in his only inning of work

Special to

ARLINGTON -- Prince Fielder's first swing in a Rangers uniform at Globe Life Park couldn't have been any better.

In a 7-4 exhibition victory Thursday over the Quintana Roo Tigers of the Mexican League, Fielder laid off three straight balls in his first-inning at-bat, then crushed the fourth pitch 424 feet into the Rangers bullpen for a two-run homer.

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"He's starting to get locked in a little bit," manager Ron Washington said of Fielder, who has hit three home runs in the last eight days. "He's starting to swing the bat, starting to get through some baseballs and starting to have some real good [batting practice] too. It's nice that he caught a good fastball and punched it out of the ballpark."

Rangers right-hander Tanner Scheppers went through a brief dry run for his role as Monday's Opening Day starter, taking the mound Thursday and throwing a 13-pitch, one-run first inning. His only blemish was a ringing leadoff double to Jerry Owens, who moved to third on a groundout and scored on Sergio Contreras' groundout.

Scheppers got a flyout from the fourth batter he faced and left the game after one inning, as planned.

"It was good," Scheppers said of his quick outing. "I just wanted to go out there and use my fastball and spot up a little bit. I made one bad pitch but overall it was good. I got a couple of ground balls. I just needed a quick little tuneup."

A pair of candidates for the second base job had productive nights Thursday. With Jurickson Profar out 10-12 weeks, Josh Wilson and newly acquired Donnie Murphy are both in the running to play his position.

Murphy doubled in his first at-bat and followed that in the second inning with a three-run homer that was initially called a double. The ball cleared the left-field wall but bounced off the area just above the out-of-town scoreboard and caromed back. The umpires chose to review the call, which was then overturned in the new instant replay system's first test in Arlington.

Murphy had a "good first day in a Texas Ranger uniform," Washington said. "A double, a bomb, he moved a runner from second to third [on a fly ball in the fourth] and we got a run out of it. He had a good day, he made some nice plays, he turned a double play. He did everything that you could possibly do."

Wilson singled in both his at-bats, driving in a run in the second inning before he stole second base and scored on Murphy's homer.

The Rangers used seven pitchers Thursday. Lefty Martin Perez, the No. 2 starter in the rotation, relieved Scheppers and pitched a scoreless inning, walking one and striking out the first two batters he faced. Justin Germano pitched a perfect third, fanning two.

Relieving Germano, Alec Asher allowed a solo homer to Jorge Vazquez in the fourth and a two-run single to Owens in the fifth.

Daniel McCutchen pitched a 1-2-3 sixth, Shawn Tolleson retired all six batters he faced and Seth Rosin threw a scoreless eighth. Rosin earned the save in the ninth.

Eight of the Rangers' starters left after the fifth inning. Everyday shortstop Elvis Andrus pinch-hit for Wilson and singled to right in the sixth before being replaced by Adam Rosales.

Up next: The Rangers will close out the spring in San Antonio for the second year in a row, playing the Houston Astros in the Alamodome at 7:05 p.m. CT. Manager Ron Washington said the starters will play more Friday than Saturday; at any rate, watch out for left-handed power hitters like Prince Fielder in the converted football stadium with a 16-foot high right-field fence just 285 feet away from the plate. Lefty Matt Harrison will pitch a few innings in what amounts to a rehab start; he isn't expected to join the Rangers' regular-season rotation until mid-April.

Dave Sessions is a contributor to

Texas Rangers, Prince Fielder, Donnie Murphy, Tanner Scheppers