Reaction: Neftali Feliz stretches out

April, 1, 2012
4/01/12
12:09
AM CT
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Texas Rangers starter Neftali Feliz's main goal in Saturday's 7-4 win over the Cleveland Indians was getting his pitch count up to 85 and doing so without any signs of a stiff right shoulder. Mission accomplished.

It wasn't a completely clean start for Feliz, who got himself into trouble in the second inning when his fastball command left him. But he was able to get things figured out and pitched better in his final three ininngs. He allowed three runs on five hits with three walks and four strikeouts in five innings. He gave up two homers.

"I felt good," Feliz said through a translator. "Once I got into the rhythm of the game, it was better."

Feliz struggled with his fastball command and consistency with his secondary stuff -- slider, cutter, changeup -- in the second inning. He walked three of the first five batters he faced, including a bases-loaded walk to No. 9 hitter Lou Marson that allowed the Indians to tie the score. That garnered a visit from pitching coach Mike Maddux and after that, Feliz did settle down.

"He asked me how I felt physically and to keep the ball down," Feliz said.

He gave up a home run on an 0-1 fastball that was over the plate and launched by Jason Kipnis on top of the roof of the seating area over the right-field fence in the fourth. But after the meeting with Maddux, Feliz retired 11 of the next 13 he faced.

Feliz will probably pitch in a simulated game late next week as he prepares for his first start of the season, which will come April 10 against the Seattle Mariners.

Moreland swinging well: Mitch Moreland's wrist hasn't bothered him much at all this spring and he's finding his stroke. He hit his third homer of the season and his second in three games. He's hit safely in seven straight Cactus League games and is 8-for-15 with four walks in that span. If you include a 'B' game on March 11, Moreland his hitting .429 (18-for-42) in his last 15 contests.

Trio of doubles: Texas had three straight doubles in the second inning as Mike Napoli, Nelson Cruz and David Murphy turned the trick to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead. Napoli and Cruz hit the ball hard the other way and Murphy's double to center drove in both runs.

Extra-base hits: Both of Napoli's hits Saturday were doubles and his last five hits in five games have all been extra-base hits (two doubles and three homers). Napoli has seven runs scored in those games.

Scoreless inning for Uehara: Reliever Koji Uehara, who had a 11.88 spring ERA coming into the game, gave up a leadoff double in the seventh, but then got the next three batters he faced. Uehara is trying to secure one of the remaining spots in the bullpen.

Defensive gem: David Murphy made a diving catch in the seventh, taking a hit away from Asdrubal Cabrera. Murphy has focused on improving his defense this spring and he's done that.

Trade: The Rangers traded outfielder Kyle Hudson, who was sent to Triple-A Round Rock earlier this week, to Tampa Bay for future considerations. Read more here.
Richard Durrett joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He writes about colleges, the Dallas Stars and the Texas Rangers. Richard spent nine years at The Dallas Morning News covering the Rangers, Stars, colleges, motorsports and high schools.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Martin Perez
WINS ERA SO IP
3 1.86 20 29
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Rios .333
HRP. Fielder 2
RBIA. Rios 10
RE. Andrus 11
OPSS. Choo .895
ERAY. Darvish 0.82
SOY. Darvish 23