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Rangers put Tanner Scheppers in rotation, going with Joakim Soria at closer

Mar 22, 2014, 1:24 PM EDT

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Today was decision day for the Rangers, as manager Ron Washington made some important calls about the composition of his pitching staff. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that Washington will put Tanner Scheppers in the rotation and transition Alexi Ogando into a set-up role. In turn, he has opted for Joakim Soria over Neftali Feliz for the closer role.

Scheppers entered spring training as a long shot to secure a rotation spot, but injuries to Derek Holland and Matt Harrison and a poor spring from Ogando opened the door. The 27-year-old right-hander has also pitched well during Cactus League play, posting a 3.07 ERA and 14/4 K/BB ratio over 14 2/3 innings. This includes an impressive outing yesterday. Scheppers, who had a a 1.88 ERA in 76 2/3 innings out of the Rangers bullpen last season, has only made 12 starts in pro ball, all of them in the minors. Despite the inexperience, the Rangers are willing to experiment.

Feliz was considered the early favorite to replace Joe Nathan at closer, but he has shown diminished velocity this spring while allowing four runs on 11 hits and one walk over eight innings. Meanwhile, Soria has allowed just two baserunners over six scoreless innings. Washington said that Feliz’s role is yet to be determined and that he’s still competing for a job.

  1. zdravit - Mar 22, 2014 at 1:37 PM

    Washington is brilliant. He’ll use the 2nd best pitcher on his staff as a middle reliever or send him to AAA.

    • kruegere - Mar 22, 2014 at 1:53 PM

      Do you think Feliz is the second best pitcher on the Rangers? I’m not sure whom you’re talking about.

  2. sportsguygerald - Mar 22, 2014 at 2:12 PM

    Feliz ain’t the second best pitcher on the Rangers. He’s lost velocity, and the fastball doesn’t move like it did before he got hurt. He doesn’t command his pitches very well either. Hard to pitch up throwing 91 or 92

    • bendover09 - Mar 22, 2014 at 3:28 PM

      Sportsguy, you can be a very effective pitcher even with 91 or 92 mph fastball. BUT, feliz was throwing around 94-96 during spring with no command. That was expected bc he is just now coming back from a serious injury that takes time to cure. Yes, that even means mechanics. Feliz was more of a storyline to keep the rangers in the paper. Good or bad, all publicity brings in money. Reason jerry Jones the owner is a very brilliant man.

      The thing is with feliz, he is a power pitcher. He does have some nasty breaking pitches if he can every work those in but he needs to stay healthy.

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