ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 28: Scott Feldman #39 of the Texas Rangers pitches in the fifth inning during Game Seven of the MLB World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on October 28, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
After winning 17 games in 2009 and being named the Texas Rangers' Opening Day starter in 2010, the downward trend in Scott Feldman's career was more like an avalanche. There were struggles and injuries that prevented Feldman from living up to his contract, but he began to look back up last season as a spot starter for the Rangers down the stretch and an unhittable reliever in the ALDS and ALCS victories in October.
When the season ended last fall, Feldman was quoted as saying he wanted to be a starter in 2012, but that just didn't seem to be in the cards, especially after the Rangers went out and signed Japanese import Yu Darvish.
But so far this spring, Feldman has looked every bit the part of a starting pitcher in the big leagues. Granted, it is spring, and some of the lineups Feldman is facing are far from being everyday big league lineups, but the numbers have been there regardless.
Feldman got the start on Monday night in the Rangers' rout of the Reds and looked fantastic.
He was the first Rangers pitcher to be stretched out to six innings this spring and was phenomenal as his curveball was hitting for early strikes and his sinker and cutter were mesmerizing hitters all night, to the tune of six scoreless innings with nine strikeouts.
On the spring now, Feldman is up to 20 innings pitched with 20 strikeouts and two walks.
With Neftali Feliz battling arm stiffness and set to make a minor-league start today, it's totally feasible to think the Rangers might want to take things slowly with the transition of Feliz from bullpen to rotation, so much so that he might start the season on the disabled list and need a couple of rehab starts in Frisco before making his major-league starting debut. That would put Feldman square into the starting rotation, likely as the No. 5 starter, and with even a healthy Feliz being a big question mark right now as a big-league starter, it sure is nice to have the stability and experience that Feldman offers.