SURPRISE, Ariz. -- This performance was far from flawless, but it definitely won’t silence the people who want pitcher Neftali Feliz in the Rangers’ rotation.
Feliz allowed two runs on four hits and two walks in five innings against the Mariners, leaving the game with a 5-2 lead. He recorded three strikeouts and threw 72 pitches, 42 for strikes.
The 22-year-old Feliz, who earned the AL Rookie of the Year as a closer last season, had some struggles in the first few innings but finished strong. Feliz retired the last seven batters that he faced.
Feliz had some good fortune in the first couple of innings. Jack Wilson led off the game with a single but was caught stealing second. Jack Cust led off the second inning with a line drive off the right-field wall, but he was tagged out while standing up after sliding into second.
Feliz really ran into trouble in the third inning, when he gave up two runs on two hits and two walks while throwing 21 pitches. He limited the damage by getting an inning-ending double play with runners on first and third.
The righty rebounded strong the next inning. He needed only 10 pitches to retire the side against the middle of the Seattle lineup despite Cust leading off by striking out after battling to a full count.
With a new cutter to complement his fastball, which has been consistently in the mid-90s, Feliz had been dominant this spring until Friday. He allowed only one run in nine innings in his previous three Cactus League outings.