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Rangers haven't ruled out Neftali Feliz starting

Apr 14, 2010, 3:41 PM EDT

Neftali Feliz has pitched exclusively out of the bullpen since debuting last August and replaced Frank Francisco as the Rangers’ closer earlier this week, but general manager Jon Daniels wrote today in an online chat that the 22-year-old phenom may still end up in the rotation long term:

Going to depend on the makeup of the roster and how Neftali’s developing. Plenty of guys have relieved (or even closed) and then moved back to the rotation (Lowe, Dempster, Smoltz, Wainright, etc.). He’s not even 22 yet and has less than three months in the big leagues. We want him to get some experience under his belt–we have not abandoned the idea of him starting in the future, but that’s not our immediate focus.

Feliz was an elite prospect as a starter in the minors and I’m always of the opinion that young pitchers should be given an extended opportunity to show whether they can thrive for 200 innings per season before being moved to a role that limits them to 70 innings per season.
Getting his feet wet as a reliever isn’t a bad idea, especially given Francisco’s struggles and the bullpen’s overall lack of depth, but hopefully Daniels and the Rangers still have plans for Feliz as a starter.

  1. ditmars1929 - Apr 14, 2010 at 3:56 PM

    I thought my Yankees had the market cornered on the “should he start or should he relieve” bullshit!!!

  2. Curious George - Apr 14, 2010 at 4:40 PM

    Feliz will be a good test for the Ranger brass. Will they be able to show the required restraint to not overuse a very young arm, especially if they find themselves in contention this season (and next)?

    His treatment will likely smack of Joba rules but without the resultant gnashing of teeth, one assumes. Though perhaps someone in Arlington can weigh in on the word on the street.

  3. t ball - Apr 14, 2010 at 6:36 PM

    Actually the chat was yesterday, the DMN just reported on it today. The Rangers front office has been pretty consistent with this stance, but that had gotten a bit lost in all the chatter about him being in the bullpen and then closing this past week or so. I was hoping to get Daniels to clarify and he did.

  4. DSFC - Apr 15, 2010 at 9:58 AM

    The Yankees have helpfully put together a road map of what not to do in this situation, so the Rangers have that going for them.
    I love Cashman, but damn he’s handled Joba poorly.

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