Neftali Feliz feeling comfortable in race to be Rangers’ closer

Posted Friday, Mar. 14, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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Right-hander Neftali Feliz twice hit 94 mph Thursday night during a scoreless ninth inning, and was sitting at 93 on most of his fastballs as he continues to chase the velocity he featured before having Tommy John surgery in August 2012.

He also mixed in an 85-mph changeup that got a swing and miss, and his final pitch was a 78-mph slider for an inning-ending strikeout. Feliz’s focus as he tries to become the Rangers’ closer has been on his secondary pitches, mechanics and location down in the strike zone, and he believes the upper-90s velocity will come.

Despite all the concerns he has heard, he said that he is on track for the regular season.

“I need to be comfortable with me,” said Feliz, who used a fastball and slider as a closer in 2010 and 2011. “I’ll be ready. It’s better if you use three pitches instead of two.”

Manager Ron Washington also believes that Feliz will show more on the radar gun, and liked the way Feliz repeated his new mechanics and kept the ball down against San Francisco.

But Washington isn’t ready to anoint Feliz, who is competing with Joakim Soria and Tanner Scheppers, as the closer.

“He’s getting outs,” Washington said. “There’s more to be got. We’ve just got to wait until it arrives. In the meantime, he’s just got to learn how to get out with what he’s got. It’s going to be a while until we get to the point where he can freely let it go.”

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST

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San Francisco5Top 6th | Box
Kansas City0@theBallpark | TV: FOX
110th World Series, Game One.
Full Scoreboard
Tuesday, October 21Full Scoreboard
Houston794th Qtr 5:30 | Box
Miami79TV: TNT, CSN-HOU
Indiana864th Qtr 1:39 | Box
Minnesota103
Utah1034th Qtr 2:55 | Box
Oklahoma City86
Portland503rd Qtr | Box
Denver37
Phoenix61st Qtr 7:17 | Box
LA Lakers6TV: TWC SN, D
LA Clippers 10/21 10:30 PM ET
Golden State TV: TNT
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San Diego 8:25 PM ET
Denver TV: CBS/NFL Network
Sunday
Detroit 9:30 AM ET
Atlanta TV: FOX
Seattle 1:00 PM ET
Carolina TV: CBS
Baltimore 1:00 PM ET
Cincinnati TV: CBS
Miami 1:00 PM ET
Jacksonville TV: CBS
St. Louis 1:00 PM ET
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Chicago 1:00 PM ET
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Buffalo 1:00 PM ET
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