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Pregame Notes: Feliz will close today

7/24/2014

NEW YORK -- It's official, at least for one day, but the Rangers will make Neftali Feliz the closer for Thursday afternoon's game against the New York Yankees.

The Rangers traded closer Joakim Soria on Wednesday night to the Detroit Tigers for two pitching prospects. The move has pushed Feliz, who was a dominant force in the role in 2010 and 2011 before being moved to starter and Tommy John injuries halted his career, back to the late-inning stopper.

"If there's an opportunity I would like to become the closer again," Feliz said. "I did it for a couple of years and I will take advantage of the opportunity and do the best that I can."

Manager Ron Washington said whether or not Feliz can go back-to-back days as the closer is uncertain. It just depends on the amount of pitches he throws at a given appearance, but Washington believes he's ready to do it.

"I'm going to give him the ball and tell him to do what he feels he needs to do with it," Washington said. "This is what, Neftali's fifth year? I can't motivate Neftali. That (being the closer again) should motivate him enough. You got a chance to close and that's what it is, a chance."

Starter is needed for Friday: The Rangers announced Nick Tepesch will not start on Friday. Washington said a decision will be made after Thursday's game on who the new starter will be. Tepesch threw 12 pitches in 1/3 inning emergency relief appearance in the 14-inning loss to the Yankees on Tuesday night as the main reason.

"I guess err on the side of caution would be the way to go," pitching coach Mike Maddox said. "We feel Nick would be available to pitch and he would be the first to tell you he could, yeah. But take a young kid and we asked him to do something outside of his box the other night, a team need. To his credit, we really appreciate him taking the ball. I know it was brief and not what he wanted or what anybody wanted. It's a testament to his character and his team-first attitude."

Scott Baker might start in place of Tepesch and Washington noted someone from the outside could step in, meaning a callup.

Tepesch, 25, could get pushed back an extra day and will start instead on Saturday against Oakland. Miles Mikolas will get pushed a day and go on Sunday. Staff ace Yu Darvish will remain on his normal four-days of rest schedule and pitch Monday against the Yankees in Arlington. Nick Martinez could go on six days rest and face the Yankees on Tuesday.