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Feliz Says He'd Rather Close

By Adam Boedeker
|  Tuesday, Mar 8, 2011  |  Updated 11:30 AM CDT
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Neftali Feliz made the Rangers' decision on whether to start the young phenom or have him in the back of the bullpen a whole lot easier on Monday.

At least, you'd hope he did.

Feliz told reporters on Monday that if given the choice of whether he'd start or close, he'd rather close games and reprise his role as a 40-save shutdown closer with numbers that earned him AL Rookie of the Year honors in 2010.

The Rangers have dabbled with Feliz this spring, wanting to see if he could potentially be a top of the rotation starter. And with good reason. Feliz is special on the mound. He's got an electric fastball with some improving off-speed stuff that needs improvement.

But closers are one-trick ponies, and Feliz has an awfully good trick with his triple-digit fastball. That's not to say Feliz will never start. He has great potential and he's incredibly young.

He'll still make his scheduled start for three innings on Wednesday after throwing two scoreless innings on Thursday, but it shoudn't matter once the season hits.

If Feliz says he wants to close, he should close. Make no mistake, it wasn't Feliz complaining or whining about starting. He stressed he'd do anything the team asked of him, but if "given his choice" he'd close.

C.J. Wilson made the move from closer/set-up man to starter last year and ended up being, arguably, the Rangers' most effective pitcher over the course of the entire season. But he had a burning desire to start. Feliz clearly does not. And that's OK.

See ya in the ninth inning.

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