HOUSTON -- Craig Gentry was in center field on Tuesday night with right-hander Lucas Harrell on the mound for the Astros. But catcher Geovany Soto was not behind the plate with Yu Darvish on the mound for the Rangers.
Manager Ron Washington likes the way Soto works well with Darvish. But the Rangers signed A.J. Pierzynski to be their everyday catcher, and he was in the lineup on Tuesday night for the second game of the season. The Rangers have a day game on Wednesday, and Washington isn't sure who will be his catcher for that one.
"I'll talk to A.J. after this game and see how he feels," Washington said Tuesday afternoon. "I'll get Soto in there. I can't say it's going to be tomorrow just because it's a day game after a night game. It's the third game of the season. Pierzynski is my everyday catcher, he needs to see the whole rotation. We'll see how we go. I'll probably get Soto back to Darvish at some point."
Gentry and Leonys Martin are sharing the center-field job, and Tuesday was the first indication Washington is not going to split playing time strictly by platoon. Martin, who started on Opening Day, will still likely face most of the right-handed pitchers and Gentry will get the lefties.
But Washington saw enough from Gentry in Spring Training to believe he can hit both. Gentry hit .277 against right-handers in 2012 and .343 against left-handers.
"I have no issues with Gentry in there against right-handers," Washington said. "In Spring Training, he was getting through the ball [hitting with power] against lefties, righties, everybody. It just wasn't left-handers he was tearing up."
Andrus, Rangers in process of finalizing extension
HOUSTON -- The Rangers are expected to wait until Thursday to officially announce an eight-year, $120 million extension with shortstop Elvis Andrus.
The contract is still in the process of being finalized, but Andrus has passed his physical and acknowledged on Tuesday the deal was getting done.
"It's a great thing," Andrus said. "As a player, that's what you're hoping for when you get here, a chance to stay with a team you love. I wanted to stay with the team that gave me an opportunity and that's the Texas Rangers. Everybody knows I love this team. They were the first team to give me the opportunity to be in the big leagues.
"It never came out of my mouth that I want to go to free agency. I never said that. It was more rumors than anything."
Andrus is represented by agent Scott Boras, who has a reputation for taking his players to free agency and not doing long-term contracts before then. Andrus, entering his fifth season, is currently signed through 2014. The new contract prevents him from becoming a free agent after that season. It's an eight-year deal that includes an option that allows Andrus to terminate the contract after four years.
But that still means he is now signed through at least 2018. Andrus said it was more important for him to stay with the Rangers under the security of a long-term contract rather than become a free agent after 2014. He made that clear to Boras.
"We're the boss," Andrus said. "I know everybody thinks that about Scott, but it's different if you're the one in that position. He works for us. I know he tries to get the best deal that he can, but it comes down to my choice and what's better for me and my family."
Rangers officials have yet to comment on the extension, but second baseman Ian Kinsler said, "It's well deserved. It's something he has worked hard for. I'm happy for him."
Rangers to play White Sox in Civil Rights Game
HOUSTON -- The Rangers will be the visiting team in the seventh-annual Civil Rights Game when they play the White Sox on Aug. 24 at U.S. Cellular Field. It's the first time the Rangers have played in the game, which includes a series of events that weekend developed by MLB to pay tribute to all of those who fought on and off the field for equal rights for all Americans.
"The Civil Rights Game and its surrounding events represent an integral way for Major League Baseball to recognize the courageous people who have fought -- and continue to fight -- injustice," Commissioner Bud Selig said. "When Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier 66 years ago, it was a watershed moment not only in our sport but in American history. With unprecedented diversity of players of all races and ethnicities in the sport today, we are pleased to stand alongside the White Sox in homage to all those of our game and beyond who have paved new paths to equality."
Rangers manager Ron Washington said it's an honor for his team to participate in the game.
"Being a man of color, of course," Washington said. "I know what went on during the Civil Rights years."
Rangers will miss Price in series against Rays
HOUSTON -- The Rangers will miss 2012 American League Cy Young Award winner David Price when they face the Rays in a three-game series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington beginning Monday. Price is scheduled to pitch on Sunday against the Indians before the Rays come to Texas.
The Rays are scheduled to pitch Jeremy Hellickson, Roberto Hernandez and Matt Moore during the series. The Rangers are lined up to pitch Alexi Ogando, Nick Tepesch and Derek Holland. Tepesch, who is starting Thursday for Triple-A Round Rock, is scheduled to make his Major League debut on Tuesday.
The Rangers are scheduled to face left-hander Jason Vargas and right-handers Tommy Hanson and Jered Weaver during their three-game series against the Angels over the weekend.
Price was 20-5 with 205 strikeouts and a league-leading 2.56 ERA in 2012, but he was 1-1 with a 6.97 ERA in two starts against the Rangers. Both were in Arlington. Including the playoffs, Price is 1-7 with a 5.57 ERA in his career against the Rangers and 1-2 with a 10.26 ERA in four starts at the Ballpark.
• Rangers pitchers struck out 13 in eight innings on Sunday night. It's only the second time since 1916 that a road team has struck out 13 in less than nine innings (regulation loss) on Opening Day. Mets pitchers struck out 16 in a 7-6 loss to the Reds in 2005.
• Derek Lowe gave up a pinch-hit home run to Rick Ankiel on Sunday night. He is the first pitcher to ever give up a pinch-hit home run to the first batter he faced while with the Rangers. The last pitcher to give up a home run to the first batter he faced while with the Rangers was Omar Beltre against Erick Aybar of the Angels on June 30, 2010.
• Pierzynski has started 13 straight Opening Day games. It's the longest current streak in the Majors for a catcher and the longest since Ivan Rodriguez caught 20 straight Opening Day games from 1992-2011.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.