video thumbnail

COL@TEX: Feliz discusses strong outing vs. Rockies

When the Mariners take on the Rangers in Arlington on Tuesday night, starting pitchers Blake Beavan and Neftali Feliz will each be enjoying a sort of homecoming.

Beavan, the Seattle right-hander making his first start of the season, will pitch against the team with which he began his career, taking the hill just a 10-minute drive from the town of Irving, Texas, where he grew up.

Feliz, who won the 2010 American League Rookie of the Year Award as a closer and filled that role last year as well, will make his first Major League start after preparing for the role all spring.

While Beavan enjoyed a solid rookie campaign with the Mariners in 2011, making 15 starts, pitching 97 innings and posting a 4.27 ERA, he never took the hill in Texas.

"I can't wait to actually pitch in Arlington for the first time," Beavan said. "I'll just try to keep the ball to left. Left field plays pretty good. Right field is a different story. Left-center, you've got to stroke it, but right field is like Arizona -- the ball flies. Even if a guy mis-hits it but gets the barrel on it, it's got a chance of going."

Beavan did manage to face his former team last year, making two starts against Texas. He did very well against the two-time defending American League champions, too, going 1-1 with a 1.84 ERA.

"My biggest approach with them or any good, power lineup -- like the Angels, too, any of those hard-hitting guys with a lot of pop -- you've got to get ahead of them and put 'em away fast. You can't nitpick and toy with 'em, because they'll own you. The more pitches they see, the less chance you have of getting them out."

Meanwhile, for Texas, Feliz comes home, in a sense, too -- to a job he always wanted.

"I'm fulfilling my dream of being a starter in the Major Leagues, and I'm happy that this day is finally coming," Feliz said.

It will be intriguing to see how Feliz fares, since the right-hander relied mainly on a mid-90s fastball as a closer and has been working diligently to improve his offspeed repertoire. Feliz will also throw a changeup, slider and curveball, and he said he considers the changeup to be his second-best offering.

"Before he became a reliever up here at the Major League level, he had a good changeup," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "It's a matter of him going back to it. We gave him more time over the winter to tinker with grip and to mess with it."

Then again, Washington said he would prefer that Feliz didn't forget his bread-and-butter pitch.

"I don't want to him to fall in love in his secondary stuff," Washington said. "I want him to throw his fastball."

Mariners: League dominator
• Closer Brandon League has recorded 30 saves in his last 32 opportunities, dating back to May 18, 2011. Over that period, he has maintained a 1.14 ERA -- allowing six earned runs in 47 1/3 innings -- and held opponents to a .211 batting average (37-for-175). League's 30 saves since that time are the third most among AL closers and the eighth most in the Majors.

• The Mariners are 0-for-48 against Feliz, and no current members of Seattle's roster has a hit against him.

Rangers: Nobody panicked about Napoli
• Catcher Mike Napoli entered Monday having gone 1-for-7 to start the season and hit eighth in the lineup, but Washington said he didn't think it was a big deal.

"It's early," Washington said. "He has seven at-bats? He'll get happy with it. It may not be right now, but he'll get happy with it."

Napoli didn't quite get "happy" on Monday, going 0-for-1, but he did get on base three times, all via walks, and score twice.

• Mitch Moreland was the only Rangers hitter to homer against Beavan last year. Moreland drove in three runs against the righty. Overall, the Rangers hit .192 (10-for-52) against Beavan in 2011.

Worth noting
• Mariners rookie designated hitter Jesus Montero sat out Monday's game with a bad stomach but was available to play and figures to be back in Tuesday's lineup if he's feeling better.

• Rangers outfielder David Murphy is getting comfortable with an everyday role.

"It makes a difference when I know I'm playing pretty much every day," Murphy said. "It's nice to be able to get into a routine. It was hard in the past, when I came to the ballpark not knowing if I was in the lineup. It's a little more difficult when you're not seeing live pitching every day. You can take batting practice all you want, but no way does it simulate game conditions."

MLB.com Comments