After getting through the spring despite some arm stiffness, Neftali Feliz had his final opportunity for fine-tuning before his regular-season starting debut on Thursday when he threw a simulated game at Rangers Ballpark.
Feliz is arguably the biggest question mark the Rangers have heading into the 2012 season, despite his skins on the wall as a closer. Yu Darvish has exactly zero credentials in the majors, but it seems like he'll be a more-than-serviceable starter, if not an ace.
In the simulated game, Feliz threw 102 pitches, which was good considering he got a little bit behind this spring because of the stiffness. He faced a few different batters, most notably Craig Gentry, and finished the game after six innings. He gave up five hits and struck out five with two walks and allowed one run.
A simulated game is what it is, but you couldn't have asked for a much better final spring tuneup for Feliz than that, and he'll get a nice easing in to the realm of big-league starting when he faces the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday at Rangers Ballpark. The Mariners sport one of the worst offenses known to man.
There's no doubt Feliz has the potential to be a great starting pitcher, but there's obviously still some work to be done. The journey there begins in five short days.