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2011 Spring Training: Rangers Better With Feliz Starting

That headline isn't just my opinion apparently. Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels believes it as well, according to Scott Miller of CBS Sports

The Rangers have been looking to stretch out Neftali Feliz' outings this spring in effort to convert him from closer, the role Feliz won the 2010 American League Rookie of the Year award in, to starter. Jon Daniels is seemingly most on board with this move as he was quoted as saying:

"We've said all along he's our closer until something changes," general manager Jon Daniels said. "We feel like if he wants to do it, if his heart's into it and he shows a few things, then we're better off short and long term with him starting.

More on Feliz after the jump.

Of course, the most important part of that Daniels quote is the first part - Feliz is the closer until something changes. Feliz said on Monday that his preference was to remain a closer, but that he would be comfortable in either role. Which is good, because the decision on how Feliz is utilized should come from Daniels, Nolan Ryan and Ron Washington and not Feliz himself. Feliz is the player under contract.

Mike Maddux added this on Feliz' possible conversion back to starting:

"His future as a starter depends on someone else stepping up to close," Maddux said, noting at the same time that "you want to go to bed at night feeling like we did last year" -- knowing the next ninth inning the Rangers would face while holding a lead would be locked down."

That's all well and good, but I'm not sure why somebody else's performance should impact how Feliz is utilized. If Feliz adds more value as a starting pitcher, then that is what he should be doing, regardless of if the ninth is locked down. If the Rangers truly believe that Feliz is best off starting, then they should just get it done immediately so that roles can be clearly defined as the season opens.

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Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.