SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP)- Kevin Millwood does not mind being called the No. 1 starter for the Texas Rangers, especially since manager Buck Showalter has already declared him the opening day starter.
But the AL ERA champion, one of three new starters in the Rangers rotation, is not caught up in that label.
“Being No. 1 only counts in the first round,” Millwood said Wednesday. “Everybody has to believe they’re No. 1 when they go out there or you’re in trouble. … It’s all about giving your team a chance to win and avoiding long losing streaks.”
Millwood signed a $60 million, five-year contract with Texas after his only season in Cleveland. The Rangers also traded for Adam Eaton (11-5 in San Diego last season) and former NL All-Star Vicente Padilla from Philadelphia.
“This is a good 1-2-3 and I think the team is really good on paper,” Eaton said. “It’s going to be nice to have this offense behind me. If I can get it done, they’ll get the big hits. There are some good gloves, too.”
Millwood and Eaton were part of a small group of players that went out on the practice fields for some stretching and throwing after pitchers and catchers reported to camp Wednesday. The first workout is scheduled Thursday.
“It felt good to get out there,” Millwood said.
“This is just the first day and we didn’t want things to be too structured, so I really didn’t see anyone working out,” Showalter said. “We’ll have our first workout (Thursday) and we’ll see what we have then.”
Millwood signed a one-year deal with Cleveland last season after being limited to 25 starts for Philadelphia in 2004 because of elbow swelling.
He was hampered by a lack of run support but went 9-11 with a 2.86 ERA. The 31-year-old right-hander then rejected a salary arbitration offer from the Indians.
The Rangers’ first full-squad workout is not until Tuesday, but new outfielder Brad Wilkerson, All-Star shortstop Michael Young and first baseman Mark Teixeira, who also won Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards last season, are among the position players already in camp. Teixeira and Young will leave in early March to play for the U.S. team in the World Baseball Classic.
Of the 61 players expected to be in camp this spring, 42 are pitchers and catchers.
Showalter said all the expected pitchers except right-handers Armando Galarraga and Omar Beltre had checked in Wednesday. Galarraga (from Venezuela) and Beltre (from the Dominican Republic) were having visa problems, as was infielder Aarom Baldiris from Venezuela.