Feliz's shoulder tightness typical, Texas Rangers say

Posted Friday, Mar. 23, 2012  comments  Print Reprints

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SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The alarms that sounded Tuesday afternoon after Neftali Feliz reported tightness in his right shoulder had gone almost entirely silent by Thursday morning.

The media covering the Texas Rangers had no shortage of questions about the health of a member of the projected rotation, only 15 days from Opening Day. But Feliz, and later manager Ron Washington, didn't seem to have any.

The discomfort Feliz felt has been described as typical spring-training soreness. He will remain on his current throwing schedule, which on Thursday included a problem-free session of long-toss and today will feature another, more intense round of long-toss.

If the all-clear is sounded, Feliz would throw a bullpen session Saturday and could make his next start on schedule Monday.

That appears to be a likely scenario. When asked to base their level of concern on the tried-and-true scale of 1 to 10, with one being the least amount, Feliz and Washington went as low as they could go.

"The problem that's with Neftali is normal," Washington said. "It's normal stiffness. There's no structural damage or anything like that. That's why we have no concern."

Feliz, who left HoHoKam Park on Tuesday before meeting with the media, described the chain of events exactly as pitching coach Mike Maddux had. Feliz felt some tightness in his shoulder, and Maddux pulled the plug after three scoreless innings on 49 pitches.

Feliz said that he felt discomfort against the final two batters he faced. But had Feliz been working a regular-season game rather than a Cactus League game, he wouldn't have agreed with an early exit.

"I was planning on going back out for the fourth, but I told them I was a little tight and they pulled me just to be safe," he said. "It was just a precaution. It wouldn't have been a problem if it was the regular season. We're in spring training and trying to careful with everyone."

The Rangers still have Scott Feldman or Alexi Ogando working on a starter's schedule to be ready in case Feliz or any other starter is injured to start the year. Feldman pitched Thursday night in a late game against Cincinnati, and Ogando is scheduled to pitch five innings tonight against San Francisco.

Ogando was the rotation's savior last year after Tommy Hunter suffered a strained groin in his final spring start. Ogando, who had been stretched out, entered the rotation and blossomed into an All-Star.

Though he is ticketed for the bullpen, Ogando will be kept stretched out as late into the spring as the Rangers feel comfortable going.

"We just want to make sure he's ready," Washington said. "At some time next week we've got to make a decision. If we decide that we're going to put him in the bullpen, we've got to make sure that we have the schedule set up to where he can get him back-to-back days and is doing the things he needs to do coming out of the bullpen."

Ask Feliz, though, and there's no cause for alarm due to the shoulder stiffness that developed Tuesday.

"I don't feel like this is a problem," Feliz said. "I just want to be careful and make sure it doesn't get any worse."

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST

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