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Jon Daniels talks about Neftali Feliz's role

3/7/2011

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers pitcher Neftali Feliz said Monday that he would prefer to remain the closer, but would start if the club felt that was the best way he could help the team.

It's interesting that Feliz stated a preference Monday, something he hasn't done publicly. He has expressed that desire recently to a few club officials, but is still focused on getting into a routine as a starter. General manager Jon Daniels said Feliz will remain stretched out as a starter and the club won't make any decisions on where he ends up for another 10 to 14 days.

C.J. Wilson begged the Rangers for a shot at starting and was granted the opportunity. He worked very hard and earned the spot. Feliz , at least right now, doesn't want to start as desperately as Wilson did last year.

"One of the big reasons why CJ was successful is that his heart was into it," Daniels said. "He was committed to it. We saw how it played out. It's understandable that Neftali is comfortable closing. He had a tremendous year, was an All-Star, Rookie of the Year, all the accolades that came with it. We know he can dominate in that role. We told him that neither way is a disappointment.

"We're going to continue to keep him stretched out. He's going to get his work in. Maybe something changes along the way. We've always said that he's the closer until something changes. It's intriguing to think about what he could do as a starter, but there's no timeframe either. It may be something that never materializes, it may happen at any point in time. Even if it's not this spring, I don't think it limits his ability to do that in the future."

So the club will stick with its plan. But with a host of pitchers throwing well as they look for those final rotation spots, it sure seems more likely Feliz ends up in the closer's role in 2011. But that has not been decided at this point.