On many major league clubs, Scott Feldman would be in the starting rotation heading into the 2012 season. He won 17 games in 2009, has battled back from a knee injury and performed well enough this spring -- 1-2, 3.13 ERA with 22 strikeouts and three walks -- to earn a spot.
The only problem: The Texas Rangers didn't have room for him in the rotation. With Colby Lewis, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison, Yu Darvish and Neftali Feliz ready to start the season, Feldman was sent to the bullpen late last week.
Feldman was disappointed but knew the situation before camp opened in late February.
"I wanted to start, but I was thinking to do as well as I could and see what happened," Feldman said. "All I could do was worry about the stuff I could control."
Feldman's cutter and sinker have been working well this spring as he's put hitters away and put up a slew of scoreless frames.
"I had one year where [the sinker and cutter] weren't normal, but last year when I was coming back they were fine," Feldman said. "I think I'm better than I was before. I think I've learned how to pitch a little bit better and gained that experinece. I think my off-speed pitches are better."
Feldman was able to get experience in the bullpen in the second half of last season, though he wasn't needed too often. This year, he goes in as the primary long reliever and spot starter and knows what to expect.
"You don't know how you're going to feel each day and get to know your body," Feldman said. "With this, you're winging it and trying to figure out how to keep fresh and save your bullets. I'm looking forward to spot starts and being ready for anything."