So far, so good for Texas Rangers pitcher Neftali Feliz.
The projected Rangers closer, who is looking to replace the departed Joe Nathan and reclaim his role from 2010 and 2011, has thrown twice in batting practice and bullpen sessions and is expected to get an inning of work in an intrasquad game on Tuesday in Surprise, Ariz. Feliz, of course, had Tommy John surgery in 2012, when he was a starter, and missed nearly all of 2013 before returning from rehab in September and pitching 4 2/3 innings of shutout baseball.
So in other words, as good as Feliz's track record as a closer is (he won AL Rookie of the Year honors in 2010), there is a huge question mark on his durability and overall health. There's also a question of Feliz's mechanics, and he's tweaked his delivery a bit this spring.
Instead of starting with his hands at the chest out of the stretch, he's now gone to hands at the belt, in theory to avoid tipping off his changeup, and well, because it's just a better position for him.
"This feels more comfortable," Feliz told The Dallas Morning News.
And hey, if it's good for Feliz, it's good for us.