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SAN DIEGO — Texas manager Jeff Banister has decided to play it straight Sunday afternoon as the Rangers go for a sweep of a three-game series against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park.No reliever from the Rangers’ bullpen will work as an “opener” in front of scheduled starter Mike Minor.It will be the left-handed Minor (12-7 Kennys Vargas Jersey , 4.19 ERA) paired against Padres rookie right-hander Jacob Nix (2-3, 6.00).Article continues below ...Not that Banister is abandoning the idea of “openers” after using them in the first two games against the Padres and two other times recently. Banister said he’ll use an opener in about half of the Rangers’ remaining games.But Sunday’s start belongs to the 30-year-old Minor, who will make his 27th start of the season. He is on a hot streak — leading Texas in wins and starts after a string of recent successes.Minor is 3-1 with a 1.95 ERA in his last four games. He has allowed five runs in his last 23 innings to drop his ERA from 4.61 to 4.19. And he is 6-1 with a 2.70 ERA in eight starts since the All-Star break with a 0.86 WHIP and a .182 opponents’ batting average.Minor’s WHIP since the All-Star break is the fifth lowest in the major leagues among pitchers with eight or more starts. His overall WHIP of 1.11 ranks 11th in the American League and is on pace to be the eighth-lowest in Rangers history.His most recent outing Monday in Anaheim was his third quality start in his last four outings.Minor has made six career appearances (five starts) against the Padres. He is 2-3 with a 4.31 ERA.Sunday will be Minor’s second outing of the season against the Padres. On June 27 in Arlington, Texas, he took a perfect game against the Padres into the seventh inning before allowing a one-out single to Eric Hosmer, who was the only Padres player to reach base in seven innings.Minor is only 6-4 on the road this season with a 5.37 ERA in 12 starts. But he has won his last four road starts since the All-Star break with a 2.66 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP.Meanwhile, the 22-year-old Nix will make his seventh major league start while facing the Rangers for the first time. Nix was the Padres’ third-round pick in the 2015 draft.Nix allowed four hits in six shutout innings of his major league debut on Aug. 10 and allowed one run in 8 1/3 innings on Aug. 28.But Nix has struggled in his two most recent starts, giving up 11 runs,12 hits and four walks with nine strikeouts in 10 innings.In 30 major league innings http://www.twinsfanproshop.com/authentic-max-kepler-jersey , Nix has allowed 20 runs, 34 hits and nine walks, with 16 strikeouts. He has a .286 opponents’ batting average and a 1.43 WHIP. GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw threw his first bullpen since Feb. 20, an all-fastball session of 20 pitches.The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner has been slowed by left shoulder discomfort.“Good day, good step forward, for sure, and just kind of keep going forward from here,” Kershaw said after throwing to catcher Russell Martin. “Felt great. It was another good day. I’ll take that right now Rod Carew Jersey , just keep moving forward from here and start building up.”Los Angeles is not sure whether Kershaw will be available for its March 28 opener against Arizona. Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said Kershaw showed command and “the feel for what he was doing with the ball was very Kershaw-esque.”“It looked really good, he felt really good,” Friedman said. “He executed extremely well. For this step in the progression, it was everything we could have hoped for. “Kershaw will throw another bullpen and start throwing off-speed pitches soon. He has made eight consecutive opening-day starts but has mixed feelings about the importance of pitching this year’s opener.“Yes, because I have a little streak going and just the history behind it, it is pretty cool,” he said. “But no, in the fact that it’s not worth — it’s one game out of, you know Brian Dozier Jersey , you’ve got to kind of weigh that back and forth.”After stretching and playing catch, including long toss, the 30-year-old Kershaw jogged over to the bullpen, conversed briefly with Martin and threw three pitches while Martin stood.Kershaw then went into full windups as Martin crouched, and 18 of 20 fastballs were exactly to the spot Martin placed his mitt.Afterward, Kershaw disappeared into the clubhouse for a few minutes then emerged to greet several family members, including his young daughter, Cali Ann, who ran into his arms. He picked her up with a huge smile on his face.NOTES: After limited activity for one week because of a lower back strain Justin Morneau Jersey , Martin is beginning his second week working back to full activity. Martin said he was grateful the Dodgers forced him to rest. While acknowledging he agreed with manager Dave Roberts’ assertion that he can afford to be down a week, he emphasized the importance of working with every pitcher to establish chemistry and communication. “I definitely want to be on the field as much as possible because there are a lot of guys I haven’t really had the chance to work with,” he said. Kershaw is the only Dodgers pitcher who is still on the roster from 2010, the last time Russell played for the Dodgers. … LHP Rich Hill pitched 4 2/3 innings in a minor league game to stretch to five innings and 75 pitches. He struck out four his last five batters. … SS Corey Seager batted second in three consecutive innings of the same game, with a groundout, a sharply hit flyout and a called strikeout.

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