SURPRISE, Ariz. -- No decision has been made, but there seems to be little doubt that Neftali Feliz could be a quality starter this season.
"He looked more like a starter to me today than any other time," Rangers president Nolan Ryan said Saturday.
Ryan, whose Hall of Fame credential and major league strikeout record certainly qualifies him as an expert on the subject, made that comment after watching Feliz pitch five innings in a 9-8 Cactus League loss to the Seattle Mariners.
Feliz allowed two earned runs on four hits and two walks, a performance that raised his spring ERA to 1.93. Ryan was particularly impressed with Feliz's presence on the mound and the way the 22-year-old right-hander used all four of his pitches.
The problem with putting Feliz in the rotation is that it'd create a hole at closer in a bullpen that has had a rough spring, which continued with side-armer Darren O'Day allowing four runs on three homers in the eighth inning against the Mariners.
"All those factors will come into the discussion," Ryan said. "How they end up playing out is hard for me to predict."