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Thursday, July 28, 2011
Manager glad closer addressed 'fire' issue

By Jeff Caplan

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers manager Ron Washington said he's satisfied with closer Neftali Feliz's response to criticism about his intensity level lodged by the manager as well as team president and CEO Nolan Ryan after Feliz's fifth blown save of the season Tuesday night.

After the 9-8 loss to the Minnesota Twins in which Feliz took the mound in the top of the ninth inning with an 8-7 lead, Washigton said he wanted to see more 'fire' out of his second-year closer, who won American League rookie of the year last season with 40 saves while botching just three. Ryan agreed with his skipper, saying, "His body language isn't good. It's bothering me. He just seems too lackadaisical. He doesn't look like he's into his role."

Feliz was told of the criticism Wednesday and said he does not lack fire on the mound. He said if he appears emotionless, or lacking urgency as Washington also put it, he is actually expressing a calmness and confidence born from experience.

"It doesn’t concern me," Washington said of his closer's rebuttal. "I feel good that Nefty was able to address it and let everybody know what they’re seeing. Maybe y’all will stop talking about it. I hope that cleared that up."

Nothing a 1-2-3 ninth inning won't help.