ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 19: Scott Feldman #39 of the Texas Rangers pitches in the eighth inning during Game One of the MLB World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on October 19, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
After the 2011 season ended, Scott Feldman let his feelings be known — he wanted to be a starting pitcher for the Texas Rangers in 2012, and do so amongst a crowded group of guys who were battling it out for spots in the rotation.
By this point, Rangers fans might have forgotten that Feldman was a 17-game winner in Arlington back in 2009 before ineffectiveness and injury marred his 2010 season and he was shelved after knee surgery for the first part of the 2011 season. He made his return as the long reliever and was highly effective, occasionally filling in for some spot starts as well.
When Neftali Feliz was placed on the 15-day disabled list last week with elbow inflammation and speculated to be on the shelf for a month, maybe even two, Feldman was the logical choice to be the short-term solution.
The other viable options are Alexi Ogando, who was an all-star as a starting pitcher last year before hitting a wall after the all-star break and moving back to the bullpen as a highly effective, versatile reliever this year. Then there's the Roy Oswalt situation as the veteran is set to decide where he might want to pitch soon and has expressed a desire to pitch in Texas thanks to his relationship with Nolan Ryan.
Tonight when Feldman takes the hill at Rangers Ballpark against the Seattle Mariners, he might be pitching for his chance to stay in the starting rotation for the time being and possibly even after Feliz returns. But after his outing last week against the Mariners when he failed to get out of the fourth inning and walked five batters, his spot in the pecking order of Feliz replacement preference likely took a hit.
Feldman's goal tonight should be to get through six innings and have better control, that would go a ways in getting him back in the good graces of Ron Washington and the Rangers' front office.