Feldman had 17 wins for Texas in 2009

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers signed pitcher Scott Feldman to a contract extension through 2012 with a club option for 2013, the team announced Friday.

The deal will pay Feldman $2.425 million this season, $4.4 million in 2011 and $6.5 million in 2012. The 2013 club option is for $9.25 million with a $600,000 buyout.

"Now I can just go out there and focus on baseball and get some good sleep at night," said Feldman, a 27-year-old right-hander entering his first full season as a starter.

Feldman, whom the Rangers drafted in the 30th round in 2003, will be the Texas' Opening Day starter after a breakout 2009 season. He had a 17-8 record with a 4.08 ERA in his first full major league season.

Feldman's 17 wins, which ranked fourth in the American League, were the most by a Rangers pitcher since 2004 and the most by a Texas right-hander since 1999. He had 12 road wins, including a club-record eight in a row from July 10 to Sept. 9.

"He represents what we want to see in our pitchers," said team president Nolan Ryan, a Hall of Fame pitcher. "We feel like at this point in time the best part of his career is ahead of him, so we felt like this was the right thing to do.

"When you look at his delivery and you know his work ethic and the way he applies himself, it gives you a level of confidence about his durability. We think he's going to be a starting pitcher that is going to give us a lot of innings."

Feldman, who converted from a sidearm reliever to overhand starter prior to the 2008 season, leads the Rangers in wins (23) and quality starts (31) over the last two seasons despite not being a full-time member of the rotation until early in the 2009 season. He's now the ace of a young staff, with the front office and coaching staff counting on him to take over the leadership role formerly filled by Kevin Millwood.

"He's a self-motivated guy," general manager Jon Daniels said. "That pulls the other guys in the right direction."

Third baseman Michael Young, second baseman Ian Kinsler and right-handed pitcher Colby Lewis are the only other Rangers signed beyond the 2010 season.

"We talk a lot about committing to our core group that we brought up through the system and that we feel can be part of a championship here this year and beyond," Daniels said. "Traditionally, when we do that, we've been sitting next to a position player. I think it's notable that today we're sitting next to a starting pitcher."