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Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Scott Feldman focused solely on Mariners

By Master Tesfatsion

SEATTLE -- With a decision yet to be made on who will be the long-term fill-in for Neftali Feliz in the rotation, the Rangers will send Scott Feldman to the mound to start Wednesday. And all Feldman is focused on is Wednesday’s rubber game with the Seattle Mariners.

“You can’t really think of it like that,” Feldman said on possibly filling in for Feliz. “I try to take it one pitch at a time. If you start getting outside of your elements and think about all kinds of other stuff, it’s usually not the best idea. So I’m going to try and keep it simple.”

Feldman wants to do well in his third start, considering it could result to his return to the rotation, but he’s going to take it one game at a time.

“I don’t want to make it something that it’s not,” Feldman said. “I want to go out there and pitch well, and everything else will take care of itself.”

Feldman is 0-1 with a 2.00 ERA in two starts this season. He only pitched a combined eight innings in the two games, but he stretched himself out during spring training and has stayed prepared with side and bullpen sessions.

“It just depends on the stress of the innings he has,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “If he’s able to get through some innings early, it might give him some leeway late.”

The starter-turned-middle reliever said he’s in a different mindset now when he starts than in previous seasons. He said he’s gone through some struggles, namely dealing with knee issues that kept him off the field for most of last season, that have been important learning lessons as he’s grown older.

He’s also learned the importance of changing speeds.

While his repertoire of pitches isn’t as vast as Yu Darvish's, Feldman tinkered with different grips last season and started throwing a changeup during games to add to his sinker, cutter, four-seam fastball, curveball and slider.

“I just got to keep throwing it to gain the trust in it,” Feldman said. “I feel like I’ve gotten to that point now.”

While he has an abundance of pitches to throw Wednesday, Feldman’s goal is the same as it is for every starting pitcher under Washington: keep the Rangers in the game.