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Pregame chatter: Some hitters start slowly

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Josh Hamilton, David Murphy and Ian Kinsler are hitting a combined .451 with three homers, four RBI and seven runs scored.

The rest of the team - uh, not so good.

They're hitting .126 (8 for 63) with one homer and six RBIs, but these are the Rangers, so we know they're going to hit.

It's just a matter of when.

Just so you know, Ron Washington said he rarely pays attention to batting averages until a player has had at least 100 at-bats.

"A lot of guys are flying high coming out of spring training and then you can't find them in April, May, June, July and August," Washington said. "I started 2 for 33 one year in Houston and I thought I was going to get released, but I wound up hitting .323."

* Catcher Mike Napoli is hitting eighth for the second time this season, an indication of the depth of the Rangers' lineup.

The reality is that he's hitting eighth because Washington doesn't want consecutive left-handed batters - Murphy and Mitch Moreland - at the bottom of his lineup. He said it makes it too easy for the Mariners to create a pitching matchup they like in the late innings.

* Scott Feldman is the only relief pitcher who hasn't played in one of the first three games. Although Feldman is the designated long reliever, the Rangers don't want to wait until they're involved in a blowout to use him in a game.

They used Koji Uehara, rookie Robbie Ross and Mark Lowe in Sunday's game.

Infielders Alberto Gonzalez and Brandon Snyder are the only position players who have yet to get into a game.

* The key to Neftali Feliz's first start Tuesday will be his command of the fastball. A close second will be his changeup. It was a terrific secondary pitch for him when he was a starter in the minors, and Washington thinks it will be effective for him.

But only if he commands his fastball, which will allow him to get ahead in the count and dictate at-bats. Then he can use the changeup as an out pitch.