Mixed results in first start for Feliz

The Texas Rangers are moving hard-throwing righty Neftali Feliz from the closer role into the rotation this spring. The 23-year-old recently made his first start in camp, yielding three runs in two innings.

About RHP Neftali Feliz's first spring start as a member of the Rangers rotation, there was good news and there was bad news.

The good news: Working to polish his cobweb-covered changeup that had been shelved during his two-plus years as a reliever, Feliz was determined and effective with it.

The bad news: Feliz, who will still live and die with his fastball, allowed a three-run homer to Adam Dunn on a two-strike fastball. Worse: Dunn had perhaps the poorest season by an AL hitter since the advent of the DH 40 years ago.

But, as the Rangers said before spring training started, results weren't really their concern for Feliz this spring.

"He was on the plate and that was good," Washington said. "They jumped on some fastballs in the first, but as his arm gets stronger, he will get away with a lot of that stuff," manager Ron Washington said. "The more you throw, the stronger your arm gets. He'll be hitting 96-97 soon enough."

After a rough first inning in which he threw 28 pitches, Feliz came back to work a sharp 1-2-3, eight-pitch second inning. During the inning, Feliz threw both sliders and changeups effectively.

"I know I'm not going to pitch like that in a game, throwing so many offspeed pitches," Feliz said. "Now is the time to work on that and not worry about results. I'm working on it every day. It shows in my bullpens and it shows out there."

Rangers Notes & Quotes

  • SS Elvis Andrus has had the most impressive start to camp of any player. Andrus was hitting .667 through the Rangers' first six exhibitions. He had a streak of six straight at-bats with hits at one point and had a sacrifice fly in his other plate appearance during the stretch. In addition, he's been sharp and focused on defense. Manager Ron Washington said the 23-year-old, who is entering his fourth season, has been playing with "intensity" and "purpose."

  • INF Michael Young banged his left thumb while diving to make a stop in Yu Darvish's first outing. He ended up leaving the game and was held out the next day, too. But Young talked his way back into the lineup on Friday. Young said the thumb is no problem. Young has never been on the DL in his 10 years in the majors.

  • 1B Brad Hawpe, trying to rebound after two seasons of declining performances and Tommy John Surgery last year, did not get into a game through the first week of exhibitions because of mild hamstring soreness.

    Hawpe was scratched from an intrasquad game on March 1 and had a couple of minor setbacks on the way back to the field. Hawpe is in camp on a minor league contract, hoping to win a spot as the backup first baseman and as a bench bat.

  • RHP Jonathan Meloan, 27, was signed to a minor league contract. Meloan, who had Tommy John surgery prior to the 2010 season, will be in minor league camp.

  • By the Numbers: 56 – Homers allowed by RHP Colby Lewis over the last two seasons, which tied for the second most in the AL over that span with New York's A.J. Burnett (since traded to Pittsburgh). Lewis allowed a homer in the first inning of his first spring start.

  • Quote to Note: "The comment I made the other day on the double (Will) Venable hit off the wall was misunderstood by the U.S. media. What I meant by that: 'I did not think he got all of it and it went further than I thought. He has power.' If I offended him, I did not mean to do so. If someone can pass this on to him, I would appreciate it." -- Rangers RHP Yu Darvish, doing a little spin control on his blog after comments he made about a double he allowed in his spring debut were interpreted to indicate that he did not think San Diego's Will Venable hit a ball very well that ended up off the center field wall.

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