Neftali Feliz makes rehab start

Updated: July 17, 2012, 2:36 AM ET
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com

FRISCO, Texas -- Texas Rangers right-hander Neftali Feliz pitched two innings Monday in his first rehab start at Double-A Frisco, allowing an unearned run and one hit with two walks and four strikeouts.

Feliz said he felt good and was pleased with his velocity -- his fastball sat between 92-95 mph, but did touch 96 on the stadium radar gun twice -- and the fact that he had better command in the second inning after a wobbly first.

"The first thing is to be healthy," Feliz said through an interpreter. "I'm trying to be ready to help the team as soon as I can."

Feliz, on the 60-day disabled list with a sprained right UCL, is scheduled to pitch three innings Friday for Triple-A Round Rock as he continues to build up arm strength. The Rangers are stretching him out as a starter and will then decide where he can best help the team.

Feliz threw 29 pitches in the first inning Monday and had trouble keeping the ball down, issuing two walks, a hit and an unearned run. But he also had two strikeouts, thanks to his ability to drop down from the 95-mph fastball to a slider in the 82-mph range.

Feliz could not get to a grounder right back over the mound that was scored an infield hit and an error when second baseman Leury Garcia tried to make an off-balance throw that hit the dirt and could not be fielded by first baseman Chris McGuiness.

The 24-year-old Feliz focused on mainly breaking pitches in the second inning and needed just 11 pitches to get out of the frame, throwing 10 strikes. He had better overall command and had two strikeouts, dialing back his fastball to 92 mph and finding the zone to go along with nice movement on his curve and slider. He said he also threw a few changeups.

"I want to keep my pitches low," Feliz said. "I know I can throw it harder when I need to. I wanted to focus on keeping things low."

Feliz was supposed to pitch Sunday for Round Rock, but since the game was rained out he relocated to Frisco to make his first start. He's 3-1 with a 3.16 ERA in eight games -- seven starts -- this season for Texas.

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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