Neftali Feliz gets treatment, feels better

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Starting pitcher pitcher Neftali Feliz, who left Tuesday's game with a stiff shoulder, received treatment and reported improvement during the Rangers' off day Wednesday.

Feliz, 23, will be re-evaluated Thursday. He is not scheduled to have an MRI at this time.

Feliz was taken out of Tuesday’s 6-2 win over the Chicago Cubs in Mesa, Ariz., after the third inning of what was scheduled to be a four-inning (or 65-pitch) start. Pitching coach Mike Maddux saw Feliz rubbing his arm and shoulder after the third inning and asked him about it.

"He said it was tight, so we didn't take any chances," Maddux said after Tuesday’s game.

So that was the end of the day for Feliz, who returned to Surprise a few innings later when the rest of the regulars came out of the Cactus League game. Wednesday is an off day for the Rangers, who resume play with split squad games in the afternoon and evening on Thursday. Feliz’s turn in the rotation would normally be Monday against the Cincinnati Reds at home, since the club altered things slightly because of the off day.

Feliz had some similar discomfort last spring and ended up on the disabled list April 21-May 5 with right shoulder inflammation.

Before coming out of the game, Feliz was pitching well against the Cubs. His fastball velocity was mainly in the 93 to 95 mph range and he pitched out of a few jams, throwing 54 pitches in the three scoreless innings with a walk and a strikeout.

When the Rangers signed closer Joe Nathan early in the offseason, they announced that Feliz would be a member of the rotation, making the transition after two years as the club's closer. He was the 2010 AL rookie of the year in that role. Feliz was 2-3 with a 2.74 ERA with 32 saves in 2011.

He has spent much of the spring working on his off-speed and breaking pitches to go along with his fastball, knowing he’ll have to rely on them a lot more as a starter.