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MIL@BOS: Peavy throws first pitch of home opener

BOSTON -- Every hitter has his favorite pitchers. Jake Peavy should be on the list for outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, and they will face off again when the Rangers face the Red Sox on Wednesday at Fenway Park.

Choo has had some success of Peavy in the past, with nine hits in 21 at-bats for a .429 average. That's tied for the second highest for any hitter with at least 20 plate appearances against Peavy. It is also Choo's fourth-highest average against any pitcher with at least 20 plate appearances. He also has two home runs off Peavy, one of seven pitchers he has that many against in his career.

"I've known him and faced him a lot the last three or four years, so maybe that makes me a little more comfortable," Choo said. "But he's still a pretty good pitcher."

Peavy will be making his fifth career start against the Rangers, and is 0-2 with a 7.59 ERA. That's his highest against any Major League team. The Rangers are one of four teams he has never beaten. Peavy is winless in six starts against the Angels and five starts against the Yankees. He has never pitched against the Padres.

Peavy made his first start of the season against the Brewers in the home opener on Friday. He allowed two runs in six innings and took a no decision in the Red Sox's 6-2 loss. He has 132 career victories, tied with Josh Beckett for 10th-most by an active pitcher.

"I'm excited to pitch and build off some of the positives of the first start," Peavy said. "Obviously you go out to give our team a chance to win. I think we all know I expect more out of myself and want to pitch deeper in the ballgame. I want to give up less than two runs. That's just the way it is. I think we've done some good work in between to where I do have a little bit better feel and it's nice to kind of acclimate yourself to this weather and hold on to the ball."

Peavy will be opposed by left-hander Robbie Ross, who is making his second start after spending the past two years in the Rangers' bullpen. Ross allowed three runs, two earned, in five innings against the Phillies last Wednesday. He has a 2.70 ERA in five career relief appearances against the Red Sox. No current Red Sox player has more than two at-bats against Ross.

Red Sox: Still no leading man
The Red Sox still haven't settled on a permanent leadoff man to replace Jacoby Ellsbury, and manager John Farrell isn't necessarily in a rush to do so. In the meantime, Daniel Nava will continue to get most of the starts in the top spot against right-handers and Jonny Gomes will bat there against lefties, at least until Shane Victorino returns from the disabled list. Grady Sizemore might also see some more time at the top spot as he continues his comeback.

"The one thing we prioritize is on-base, and yet we're still trying to generate that," Farrell said. "We're going to be in a situation where we mix and match as best we can, evident by the guys that are currently available. We're going to see Jonny and Daniel in that spot. There might be a time or two when we put Grady [Sizemore] in the leadoff spot.

"We don't have that prototypical guy right now. I like Dustin [Pedroia] in the 2-hole. It creates the middle-of-the-order continuity for the rest of the guys that are there. We're looking to take advantage of the strengths that our current roster has to offer."

Rangers: Lewis expected back Saturday
The Rangers rotation will continue to evolve through April. Colby Lewis is expected to start Saturday, while Joe Saunders and Matt Harrison should come off the disabled list later this month. Derek Holland is on a throwing program in Arizona with the hope of returning in June.

"We've got to stay afloat until we get our staff back," manager Ron Washington said. "We have to go out and find a way to compete with some young pitchers who could be starters in the future. They're doing good and it will get better."

Worth noting:
• Alex Rios and Elvis Andrus have hit safely in eight straight games for the Rangers. Rios hit in ten straight to start the season last year.

• The Red Sox will probably have left-hander Craig Breslow in their bullpen for Wednesday's game. Breslow opened the season on the disabled list with a strained left shoulder but threw a scoreless inning for Triple A Pawtucket against Syracuse on Monday night. He is scoreless in three rehab appearances.

• The Red Sox and the Rangers seemed to have shared quite a few catchers over the years. The latest is A.J. Pierzynski, who was the Rangers' starting catcher in 2013 and is now with the Red Sox. Last year former Rangers catcher Jarrod Saltlamacchia was the Red Sox No. 1. They also have Mike Napoli, who caught for the Rangers in 2011-12 but has played first base for the Red Sox. Among the catchers who have played for both teams include Doug Mirabelli, John Marzano, Jim Leyritz, Marcus Jensen, Ken Huckabay, Bill Haselman and Kevin Brown. Comments