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04/07/10 8:14 PM ET

Feliz still Rangers' eighth-inning man

Rookie right-hander struggled on Opening Day

ARLINGTON -- Manager Ron Washington reaffirmed his faith in rookie right-hander Neftali Feliz on Wednesday and said he still plans to use him as his eighth-inning setup reliever.

Feliz struggled in his first outing on Opening Day. He entered the eighth inning with the game tied at 3 and couldn't get through the inning.

"He had a rough first time out but he'll get a chance to get back out there," Washington said.

Feliz struck out the first batter he faced but then walked Jose Bautista on four pitches. Aaron Hill followed with a double to left, moving Bautista to third, and Adam Lind was walked intentionally to load the bases.

Vernon Wells followed with a line-drive single to left that scored Bautista with the go-ahead run. Washington then replaced Feliz with Darren Oliver.

"They just worked Feliz and got on base," Washington said. "You can't walk people. That's what got him in trouble ... the walk, and four pitches at that."

Kinsler won't return on current homestand

ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington admitted Wednesday that second baseman Ian Kinsler will not be ready before the end of the current homestand.

Kinsler opened the season on the disabled list with a sprained right ankle and there is no indication that he will be ready anytime soon. The Rangers' current homestand ends on Sunday after a three-game series with the Mariners, and Kinsler won't be close to being ready by then.

"It would take a miracle," Washington said. "We're going to go a day at a time. We certainly can't stand here and say when."

Kinsler injured the ankle on March 12 during pregame warmups before a Cactus League contest in Arizona. That was four weeks ago. On Wednesday, he took batting practice and played some catch but is still not doing any full-scale running, fielding or agility drills.

"I thought it would be three or four days and it's been three or four weeks," Kinsler said.

Kinsler will likely need at least three to four games on medical rehabilitation assignment before he is ready to be activated, and he's not going to do that until he starts running full speed.

Teagarden ready to prove his worth

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers' new catching arrangement designed by manager Ron Washington represents a promotion for Taylor Teagarden. He was the backup last year behind Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ivan Rodriguez.

He has been promised he will share the position with Saltalamacchia. Now Teagarden must prove two things.

No. 1, he must prove that he's not satisfied with being just a backup catcher. The Rangers had some concerns about that when they told Teagarden that he would have a chance to compete for the starting spot in Spring Training. So far he has alleviated their concerns by the way he played in Arizona.

"There might have been some people who felt that was the case, even though I was doing all the things I needed to do to play every day," Teagarden said. "I have never settled for less. I know I'm capable of doing that, and Wash knows that. Nobody wants to be satisfied being a backup, especially at this stage of my career."

Secondly, he must show he can hit. Teagarden is considered to be an excellent defensive catcher and that's most important for the Rangers. But he also hit just .217 with six home runs and 24 RBIs in 60 games and 198 at-bats last year. He wants to do better than that.

"Oh yeah," Teagarden said. "For my own satisfaction, I want to be a complete player. I know what I'm capable of and I don't want to settle for less. Nobody wants to be labeled as either an offensive player or a defensive player. I don't want to be labeled as a one-dimensional player."

Rotation to remain intact

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have two days off on their upcoming nine-game road trip, but they will not use them to skip any starters in the rotation. Some managers use early days off in the schedule to go with a four-man rotation, but Ron Washington wants to stay in order with Scott Feldman, Rich Harden, C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison.

"We're going to go with all five guys," Washington said. "We need to protect Rich a little bit. We don't want his innings to pile up right away. It would be nice for him to get an extra day and it would be nice for Colby to get an extra day. We also want Harrison to get the ball."

The Rangers want to be careful with Harden, because he has been on the disabled list at least once in each of the past five seasons since throwing a career high 189 2/3 innings in 2004.

The Rangers are off on Tuesday and again on April 19.

"After the 19th, we've got 20 straight days so everybody will get plenty of work," Washington said.

No walks issued by Feldman

ARLINGTON -- Scott Feldman did not walk a batter in his seven-inning start against the Blue Jays on Opening Day. He was one of four Major League starters to go six innings on Opening Day and not walk a batter.

Last season, Rangers starters pitched at least six innings in 90 of 162 starts. In only 10 of those 90 starts did they not walk a batter. Feldman did it once in the 23 starts in which he pitched six innings.

Worth noting

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers' average age on their Opening Day roster was 27.7 years old. That's the second lowest of any Major League team. Oakland averages 27.6 years old. ... The Rangers rallied from being down 3-0 and being no-hit for six innings on Opening Day. From 2000-09, there were only five teams that came back to win a game after being no-hit for at least six innings and being down at least three runs. It also happened just five times in the 1990's. ... Derek Holland will be Triple-A Oklahoma City's starting pitcher for their first game on Thursday.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.