Feliz's Struggles End Up Positive - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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Feliz's Struggles End Up Positive



    Surprise, Ariz., was abuzz on Thursday afternoon.

    The highly anticipated spring debut of Neftali Feliz had everyone with an ounce of Rangers blood in their veins on pins and needles.

    The big question this spring is, will Feliz move to the starting rotation or reprise his role as one of the top closers in the big leagues after his 40-save season a year ago.

    His start on Thursday in a split-squad win over the Indians wasn't too promising in the beginning for a guy that's going to get about 14-15 innings of work in the spring, at the most.

    He labored through the first inning, throwing 26 pitches, hitting a guy and walking a guy. He got out of it with no runs.

    Then, in the second, he gave up two quick singles before retiring the next three with an inning-ending double play to finish his second, and final, inning in just 10 pitches.

    The next outing, he's set to throw three innings, and then four in his third. The Rangers are supposedly going to make a decision after that third start, but numerous reports have said they've kind of already decided he's going to be a starter unless this spring just spells "EPIC FAIL."

    Time will tell, but a 2 1/2 hour outing is much different than a 10-minute outing, and people saying Feliz can do this because C.J. Wilson did are just flat-out wrong. Wilson is a workout and fitness freak and really had a burning desire to start. Feliz has already made it known he'd rather close.

    If it works, and if he shows greatness in a starting role, then perfect. You have three top of the line starters, four if you get what you hope you do out of Brandon Webb.

    But keep in mind, 14-15 innings of work is a really small sample to make such a huge decision.

    When Start No. 2 comes for Feliz, you can bet there will be just as much attention. We'll just have to wait and see how he responds.