Rangers rotation shaken, not stirred

SURPRISE, Ariz. – The decision to name Scott Feldman as the Rangers’ Opening Day starter was made during a three-hour session Friday night between general manager Jon Daniels, manager Ron Washington and their staffs.

“There was no dinner,” Washington said of the discussion, which began about 5 p.m. and lasted until after 8.

There was dessert for Feldman, though, who saw his out-of-nowhere 17-win season in 2009 pay off with his first ever Opening Day start. He wasn’t even in the rotation when the season began a year ago.

Other bullet points on a busy Saturday in Surprise:

* Washington said he tried to tell C.J. Wilson that he had made the team as a strong-hitting outfielder, not a pitcher, “but I couldn’t keep a straight face.”

* Look for Washington to inform Doug Mathis that he has nailed down the final spot in the bullpen after today’s game against the Brewers in Surprise. That will give the Rangers a seven-man bullpen that includes closer Frankie Francisco, Neftali Feliz, Darren Oliver, Chris Ray, Darren O’Day, Dustin Nippert and Mathis. If O’Day doesn’t recover from a bone bruise as expected, Willie Eyre would likely be the next option.

* Washington said the decision to put Feliz in the bullpen is not about his career but what’s best for the Rangers right now. “For where we are right now, he fits better in the bullpen,” Washington said. “The way we plan on using him, with the power in his arm, he’s one of our better guys to get three outs.”

* The Rangers will keep an eye on the waiver wire this coming week, still on the lookout for a shortstop/utility infielder and a corner infielder that might be upgrades over those still in camp. Newcomer Gregorio Petit will get a start at short Sunday in Surprise so that Elvis Andrus can have a day off and Washington can get a look at the newest infielder acquired from Oakland for reliever Edwar Ramirez. Washington was not happy to learn that Boston had traded for San Francisco middle infielder Kevin Frandsen. “The rich just get richer,” he said.

* Ian Kinsler says he thinks there’s a 95 percent chance he’ll be ready to play by Opening Day, but admits he may have to stay behind in Surprise when the Rangers leave in order to get more at-bats and action in minor league games. The Rangers hope he’s able to run by Monday and ready to play in a minor league game by Tuesday or Wednesday. They’ll keep their option to backdate him on the disabled list to Friday, March 26, so that if he does have to be placed on the D.L., he’ll only miss five games.

* Jarrod Saltalamacchia is scheduled to catch for Oklahoma City today and if that goes well, will be back behind the plate for the Rangers on Sunday.