SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers pitcher Neftali Feliz said he is not too worried about the tightness he experienced in his right shoulder on Tuesday.Feliz had to come out of Tuesday's start against the Cubs when he felt some tightness in his shoulder. But he said it's better after two days of treatment and he threw long toss without issue on Thursday. "The problem with Neftali is normal," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "There is no structural damage, just normal stiffness. Those first three innings he was throwing pretty good." Feliz is also planning to play long toss on Friday and throw in the bullpen on Saturday. If that goes well, he may make his next start against the Reds on Monday here in Surprise.
Feliz had shoulder issues last spring and was on the disabled list from April 23 to May 6. But he said this is not as bad as he felt last season."This is different from last year," Feliz said. "I don't feel like it's a problem. I want to be careful and make sure this doesn't get any worse, but it's not like last year. It's different." Feliz pitched three scoreless innings against the Cubs and was enjoying his best outing of the spring before he experienced some tightness. The Rangers shut him down immediately as a precaution. "I was feeling fine and throwing the ball where I wanted and doing what I wanted to do," Feliz said. "We do that with everybody, pitcher or player," Washington said. "If something is not right, we're not going to push it. A position player might play through it but with a pitcher, you never want that to lead to something else." Feliz, who is being switched from closer to starter this spring, has pitched eight innings this spring and has allowed four runs on nine hits with two walks and seven strikeouts. Unless the Rangers alter their rotation, he has just two starts left in Spring Training before he opens the season as the fifth starter in the rotation. But the Rangers continue to stretch out Alexi Ogando just in case. He will start against the Giants on Friday night while Derek Holland will pitch in a Minor League game. Ogando will likely start the season in the bullpen although Washington insisted that a final decision hasn't been made. "We just want to make sure he's ready," Washington said. "Sometime next week we're going to have to make a decision. If we do put him in the bullpen, we have to make sure he gets some back-to-back games." Washington said the Rangers want to use Holland in a Minor League game so they can get his pitch count up without worrying about results. The Rangers then play back-to-back games against the Angels this weekend. Matt Harrison is scheduled to start on Saturday but he may do his work in a Minor League game. Greg Reynolds could start against the Angels instead. The Rangers have already decided against pitching Yu Darvish against the Angels on Sunday. He will pitch in a Minor League game and the Rangers haven't announced who will start in his spot.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.