ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 01: Closing pitcher Neftali Feliz #30 of the Texas Rangers celebrates after closing out the top of the ninth inning against the Boston Red Sox on Opening Day at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on April 1, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Neftali Feliz
Neftali Feliz spoke four simple words over the weekend that will shape the Texas Rangers franchise for years to come.
"I won't start anymore."
There you go, it's settled.
Neftali Feliz, who set a MLB rookie record a year ago with 40 saves and took home AL Rookie of the Year honors, told Jorge Ortiz of USA Today that he enjoyed starting this spring in the experiment to stretch him out and hopefully replace Cliff Lee, but that he sees himself as a closer, and a closer forever.
Many in the Rangers brass had still had the idea that Feliz would eventually start, but you'd have to think his "cautionary" trip to the 15-day DL last week might have turned him off to the thought of closing, an idea to which he took kindly to during the spring.
Feliz is set to return to the bullpen on Friday when the Rangers open up a three-game set at home against the Yankees after resting an inflammed shoulder, which, true or not, could possibly be linked back to being stretched out in the spring.
It would at least be easy for Feliz to think that.
"The team has told me that next year I would still have the chance to start, but I don't want to do it anymore,'' Feliz told USA Today. "This year my arm didn't feel good after they moved me from the rotation back to closing, so I don't want to go through that again and risk the same thing happening.''
It's good Feliz made this decision easier for the Rangers. Now the question can be put to rest and the Rangers can have one of the elite closers in the game while trying to trade for or sign another starter at some point.