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November 21, 2011

Feliz ready for rotation

Neftali Feliz is ready to move to the rotation.

The Texas Rangers made the transition known after signing Joe Nathan to become the team’s closer on Monday.

“I am happy to know the team’s decision this early, and I have plenty of time to get ready,” Feliz said in a statement. “I have already started running. I have time to work on my changeup and all my pitches. I know I have to work hard to be ready to help my team as a starter so we can get back to the playoffs.”

General manager Jon Daniels and manager Ron Washington talked with Feliz about the move, and they had no reservations after the conversation.

“He had expressed some interest in starting at different points in the year,” Daniels said. “We did check back in on him through his agent, and made sure he was still interested in it. He told us he wanted to do whatever he could to help the club win.”

Feliz spent the past two seasons as the Rangers closer. He had 40 saves in 2010, garnering rookie of the year honors. This past season, he had 32 saves. The Rangers said Feliz’s Game 6 meltdown in the World Series did not influence the decision.

“It had nothing to do with the decision, it really didn’t,” Daniels said.

The Rangers contemplated moving Feliz to the rotation last season, but opted to leave him in the bullpen. Before reaching the big leagues, Feliz started in the minors.

Nathan is an 11-year veteran, best known for his years with the Minnesota Twins. From 2004-09, Nathan went to four All-Star Games and saved 36-or-more games every season over that six-year stretch.

In 2009, Nathan was an All-Star and finished with a career-high 47 saves. He missed the 2010 season because of Tommy John elbow reconstructive surgery.

Nathan returned last season and struggled at the start. But, in the second half, he went 1-0 with a 3.94 ERA over 24 appearances.

-- Drew Davison

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