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March 27, 2012

Neftali Feliz: 'I feel like I'm ready for the season'

Rangers right-hander Neftali Feliz declared that his right shoulder is healthy and that he'll be ready for the regular season after tossing four innings Monday night against the Royals' Double A team.

Feliz touched 96 mph while allowing three runs (one earned) on six hits. He walked one and struck out three while throwing 68 pitches/41 strikes. He's likely to pitch again Sunday in the Rangers' Cactus League finale.

Pitching coach Mike Maddux said that Feliz got better as the game went along. Feliz said that his goal, besides emerging healthy, was to keep his pitches down in the strike zone.

"I feel good, and my arm feels good," he said. "I feel like I'm ready for the season."

Colby Lewis, Joe Nathan and Tanner Scheppers also worked against Royals minor leaguers.

Lewis dominated in a Triple A game, allowing only three hits in six scoreless innings. He walked two and struck out six while throwing 98 pitches. Aside from residual respiratory issues related to an early-spring illness, Lewis said that he feels fine.

"I felt like I threw the ball in and out, and my off-speed pitches were good," said Lewis, who will likely be the Rangers' starter on Opening Day. "My changeup was especially good."

Nathan blew through his one inning in the Double A game, working a 1-2-3 frame with two strikeouts. He needed only 11 pitches, nine of which were strikes. Nathan said that he has shortened his stride toward home his past two outings so that he can get back to his strength, throwing downhill.

He also completed working in back-to-back games for the first time this spring.

"To be honest, I felt stronger and stronger with each one," he said. "It tells me my arm is coming back and is able to bounce back."

Scheppers allowed two hits in a scoreless inning of the Double A game.

-- Jeff Wilson



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Now, if all Feliz, Lewis' and Nathan's competition could be minor league level, we're ready.

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