Texas Rangers’ pitching coach Mike Maddux has been impressed by what he’s seen this spring out of Neftali Feliz, who is in the process of transitioning from the team’s closer to a member of the starting rotation. Maddux appeared on ESPN Radio 103.3’s the Ben & Skin show on Sunday, and said that as of now, he and the team are happy with Feliz’s efforts.
“So far, so good,” Maddux said, via the Dallas Morning News. “We did all the checkpoints. When his one inning went unscathed, he threw two innings. He gave up one run in that game but really limited damage. We started working on some things, and he took them out to his last game. He actually threw two double play balls. Something in the past that when he’s closing, he would offer the two strikeouts to get out of a predicament, but here it’s 'let me get the ball on the ground and roll a pair', and he did that twice.”
As he prepares to enter his first season as a starter, Feliz has been focusing on location, and the difference is noticeable on the radar gun--but Maddux isn’t worried about it and, like Feliz himself, he expects the velocity to be there once again when the spring comes to an end.
“You do see some approach changes that way. It’ll cost you a lot less pitches. I think you’re seeing a little bit of awareness there,” Maddux said. “Secondary stuff has been good. Our velocity is not where it will be. I don’t think anybody has their velocity that they’re going to have in April. That’s just part of the build up process.”