Feldman Rebounds in Rangers Win Over Padres

Scott Feldman appears to be a sure bet for a spot in the Texas Rangers' rotation. This time, he pitched as if he deserves it.

Feldman retired all six batters he faced in his second spring start, after failing to get out of the second inning of his first one, and the Rangers beat the San Diego Padres 4-3 on Thursday.

"Everything was a little better today. My command obviously was better," Feldman said. "It was nice to go out and just regain the feel a little bit."

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Rangers left-handed reliever C.J. Wilson left with a swollen left index finger after facing only one batter. He reached up to field a chopper by Everth Cabrera leading off the ninth, and the ball ricocheted to shortstop Omar Viquel, who completed the out.

Wilson then stepped on and off the rubber a couple of times before a trainer went to the mound. He later described the injury as "just a flesh wound."

Assistant general manager Thad Levine said an X-ray showed nothing broken, but that team doctors still needed to evaluate that. He expected an update Friday.

Before arthroscopic surgery in mid-August to remove bone spurs from his left elbow, Wilson had 24 saves in 28 chances. But the Rangers have already tabbed Frank Francisco, who didn't allow an earned run in his final 11 appearances and was 5-for-5 in save chances after Wilson's surgery, as the primary closer going into this season.

Ian Kinsler and Josh Hamilton both went 2-for-3 for Texas, which won its third straight game.

Kinsler had a leadoff double in the first and scored on Hamilton's single for a quick 1-0 lead against Cha Seung Baek. Hamilton and Hank Blalock had back-to-back doubles in the fourth for a run, then Kinsler's two-run homer in the fifth made it 4-0.

Baek, set as the Padres' No. 3 starter behind Jake Peavy and Chris Young, settled down after Hamilton's single. He got outs against the last five batters faced.

"The last couple of years with the Mariners, there was no guaranteed job like that," Baek said. "This year is different, so I'm excited about it. More confident."

Baek made only one start in 10 appearances for Seattle last season before being acquired by San Diego on May 28, then went 6-9 in 22 games (20 starts) for the Padres.

Feldman, the 6-foot-6 right-hander, was so effective in his two innings that he had to throw another 20 pitches in the bullpen after that to get in all his work for the day.

"He was good, kept the ball down, threw it on both sides of the plate," Washington said. "A good comeback from the last time."

Feldman was converted from reliever to starter midway through camp last spring, then went 6-8 with a 5.29 ERA in 28 games (25 starts). Only two days into this spring training, Washington said he expected Feldman to begin this season in the rotation.

Against the Chicago Cubs last Friday, Feldman allowed seven runs -- four earned -- on nine hits and a walk in 1 2-3 innings.

Notes:@ Padres 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff played his first game in the field since shoulder surgery Nov. 15. He threw across the diamond on consecutive plays to end the third. Kouzmanoff had only batted in his first two spring games ... Rangers RHP Jason Jennings, who made only six starts last year before his season-ending elbow surgery, allowed a run on two hits in his first spring appearance. But he was throwing in the upper 80s, significantly better than last spring. ... A.J. Murray retired the two batters he faced after replacing Wilson for his first save.

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