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Star-Telegram.com

Rangers lose big to Seattle, sign Oswalt

Posted Tuesday, May. 29, 2012

By Jeff Wilson

jwilson@star-telegram.com

ARLINGTON -- Scott Feldman took the mound Tuesday night as a lame-duck starter who now is just holding down a rotation spot until Roy Oswalt is ready to go.

The Texas Rangers came to terms with Oswalt on Tuesday on a minor league deal that could end up putting at least $4 million in his pockets as he takes over for Neftali Feliz.

Oswalt must pass a physical Thursday for the deal to be official, and he is expected to start Saturday at Triple A Round Rock. He has been working out at his home in Mississippi while waiting for a team in need of a starter to come calling.

The three-time All-Star could be ready to join the Rangers the weekend of June 22-24, though club officials won't put a timetable on his debut. But they expect him to be more effective than Feldman, who issued four runs in 4 2/3 innings as Seattle pulled away from the Rangers 10-3.

"When Neftali got hurt, we were looking at all of our options and thought this was a pretty attractive one," general manager Jon Daniels said.

"I don't think you can ever have too much pitching. With his pedigree and what he's accomplished in the game, we think he's a nice addition to the club."

Josh Hamilton drove in all three runs and hit a two-run homer, his 21st, in the sixth to cut Seattle's advantage to 4-3. But the Mariners scored six times in a sloppy eighth inning against the Rangers' two best set-up arms, Alexi Ogando and Mike Adams.

"It happens," manager Ron Washington said. "I don't know that you'll see again where I have to go out there and get the ball from both Alexi and Mike."

Feldman (0-3) will keep Oswalt's spot warm in the rotation, probably covering three or four more starts before resuming his role as the Rangers' long reliever.

He was fully aware of the Oswalt deal even though the Rangers didn't make it official until during the game.

"I don't really have a reaction to it," Feldman said. "I just work here and do what I'm told."

Only two of the runs Feldman allowed were earned, as a two-out error on Adrian Beltre in the fifth produced two Mariners runs.

Feldman allowed only four hits but issued three walks.

One was intentional to Ichiro Suzuki before Jesus Montero hit a grounder that Beltre fielded on a knee but threw over the head of first baseman Mike Napoli.

"In the fifth, he got in trouble, but he made the pitch to get out of the inning," Washington said. "And we made a mistake."

The Rangers watched Oswalt throw a 50-pitch bullpen session May 18 before Feliz suffered a sprained right elbow. The framework of the deal was reached Sunday, said Daniels, so the injuries to Philadelphia ace Roy Halladay and Anaheim ace Jered Weaver did not force the Rangers' hand.

But the Feliz injury did. He likely won't return until the All-Star break, and his role upon being reinstated from the disabled list is uncertain.

"I'm not sure we have that answer right now," Daniels said.

Oswalt, who is guaranteed $4 million from a prorated contract that includes roster bonuses, had wanted to pitch for the Rangers at the beginning of the season largely because of the club's proximity to his home in Mississippi.

But his ties to team president Nolan Ryan, bench coach Jackie Moore, pitching coach Mike Maddux and farm director Tim Purpura made the Rangers an ideal destination.

They are also in a pennant race, and Oswalt has never played for a World Series winner.

"I think he's motivated," Daniels said. "I think he's a prideful guy who's in shape and has something to prove. I think he wants to win."

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST

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