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Rangers, Astros Opening Season Early

Astros first AL West game to be played March 31



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    ARLINGTON, TX - JUNE 15: Yu Darvish #11 of the Texas Rangers reacts to closing out the eighth inning against the Houston Astros at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on June 15, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)

    The Texas Rangers will open the season a little earlier than planned, with a historic, nationally-televised game against the AL West Houston Astros.

    The game, which was originally to be played April 4, will mark the first-ever for the Astros in the American League and will be the first time the rival clubs have opened a season against each other.

    "With the Astros moving to the American League, each league now has 15 Clubs, and each of Major League Baseball’s six divisions are comprised of five Clubs for the first time," the Rangers said in a news release Thursday.

    The game will be played Sunday, March 31 at 7 p.m. at Minute Maid Park in Houston.  The teams take April 1 off and will continue the three-game set April 2-3.

    The Rangers will now have an off day on April 4 ahead of their home opener on April 5 against Josh Hamilton and the Los Angeles Angels.