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Ron Washington to Neftali Feliz: show me some fire

Jul 27, 2011, 7:57 PM EDT

Neftali Feliz, Ron Washington AP

At least he didn’t question his cojones.

Rangers manager Ron Washington wants a more intense Neftali Feliz on the mound the next time his team has a save situation, saying he wants to see some “fire” from the 23-year-old closer.

“I’d like to see more,” Washington told the Dallas Morning News. “When he comes in the game, I want to feel like it’s do or die. I try to tell him all the time how important those three outs are. I just don’t see that sense of urgency.”

Feliz seemed to get just how important they were last year, when he was 40-for-43 saving games. This year, Feliz is 20-for-25 after blowing a one-run lead and taking a loss Tuesday.

Feliz, speaking through an interpreter, didn’t think competitive spirit was an issue:

“Last year I was more nervous,” he said. “Now, I feel more relaxed. I know what I’m doing out there.”

But then again, maybe that’s the problem. Maybe Feliz is just a little too comfortable on the mound. And while Washington doesn’t have a reputation for head games, perhaps this is his way of trying to motivate Feliz.

And if that doesn’t work, may I suggest a hot foot?

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