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Feliz Flips Script on Desired Role

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Last Monday, Neftali Feliz seemingly made the Rangers' decision of whether to start him or leave him as the closer, where he took home AL Rookie of the Year honors, a whole lot easier.

    Now, after Monday's start against the Los Angeles Dodgers, a 5-4 Rangers win, Feliz has told reporters he wants to be a starter.

    When asked last week, Feliz simply said he'd "be more comfortable" in his closer role. Of course he would. It's what he's done at the big league level, and done with great success.

    Feliz expressed some hesitation with his secondary pitches, which weren't up to speed, so to say. He, of course, has his fastball that touches triple digits and a pretty sick slider/curve, but he was struggling with his changeup.

    A top-flight starter in the majors nearly always has to have at least three quality pitches to be effective.

    And over the past week, Feliz found a cut fastball thanks to pitching coach Mike Maddux. And he likes it.

    Feliz pitched four innings, in a start that was supposed to have "nothing made of it", according to Rangers management who had all but said Feliz would be remaining as a closer, and gave up one first-inning run while striking out five, leading to this comment from the electric, youthful pitcher.

    "That's what we're working for," Feliz told MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. "That's what I would like to do. I'm working to be a starter."

    This expert's opinion: Feliz has all the potential in the world to be a phenomenal, No. 1 starter in the bigs. But when you're a team with World Series aspirations, it's not the time to tinker with it. Maybe a few years down the road, if Texas is in a rebuilding mode, you make the move there. But unless Feliz just shows he can be every bit as good, if not better, than C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis, immediately, he shouldn't be moved to the rotation this year.

    As horribly cliche as it is, don't fix what isn't broken. And Feliz is one of the league's top closers. Leave him there.