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Neftali Feliz says he’s through with starting

May 2, 2011, 9:35 AM EDT

World Series Giants Rangers Baseball

I’ve all but worn out the “Neftali Feliz should be a starter” argument in the past few months. The response back every time I’ve made it is “the Rangers plan on keeping him as a closer now, but moving him to the rotation in 2012.” Well, it seems that Neftali Feliz himself hasn’t gotten the memo on that:

“I spent most of spring training as a starter and I enjoyed it. But I’m a closer now, and God willing I’ll remain a closer the rest of my career. I made the decision that I won’t start anymore … The team has told me that next year I would still have the chance to start, but I don’t want to do it anymore. This year my arm didn’t feel good after they moved me from the rotation back to closing, so I don’t want to go through that again and risk the same thing happening.”

That’s quite odd. If the change to closing is what made his arm feel bad, doesn’t that imply that his arm felt good while starting? And isn’t at least possible that the more frequent work as a relief pitcher, even if it’s a lower overall work load, is what is causing his problems?

And above all else, is this decision really one for Feliz to make as opposed to Ron Washington, Jon Daniels and Nolan Ryan?

  1. BC - May 2, 2011 at 10:09 AM

    The point is that when they tested him out as a starter then switched him back, it goofed his arm up (see Joba The Hutt). Better he stays where he is, as a closer. He was a top 5 closer last year.
    Case in point: Dennis Eckersley – once he closed a few games, did he ever start another game?

    • saints97 - May 2, 2011 at 2:59 PM

      Opposite case in point: Adam Wainwright.

  2. billybeaneismyhero - May 2, 2011 at 10:14 AM

    Brandon Morrow went through the same stuff a few years ago when he was with the Mariners. Lo and behold, he’s a starter now, and a damn good one. I’m not taking too much stock in Feliz’s comments.

    • seanmk - May 2, 2011 at 11:54 AM

      agreed, when he sees the paycheck for a starter it could change his mind real fast

      • Detroit Michael - May 2, 2011 at 11:56 AM

        I am confident that Neftali Feliz is already aware of the financial differences between being a reliever and a starter.

  3. macjacmccoy - May 2, 2011 at 6:02 PM

    “And isn’t at least possible that the more frequent work as a relief pitcher, even if it’s a lower overall work load, is what is causing his problems?

    No bc he didnt have the problem last year when all he did is close. What hes saying is he doesnt want them to try him as a starter then decide to make him a closer again bc he didnt like what it made him feel like. And the guy does have the right to choose what he wants to do with his career and the Rangers will have to respect that if they want Feliz to stay with the team in the future.

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