"We're going to do what's smart," pitching coach Mike Maddux said. "We've got to remember that we're in this for the long haul."
Scott Feldman will likely start against the Reds on Monday. That would put him in the fifth-starter slot if Feliz is not ready to start the season. Alexi Ogando could also fill that spot if Feliz is not ready to go, but the Rangers also expect him to be a big part of their bullpen.
The Rangers still have time to get Feliz two more starts before Spring Training ends and get his pitch count up to 80-90 pitches going into the regular season. But if Feliz's return continues to get pushed back, he could be forced to start the season on the disabled list while he builds up his endurance, durability and pitch counts.
"If you limit the innings on your starter, it taxes everybody," Maddux said. "There is a domino effect. You've got to have your starters log some innings."
Feliz left Tuesday's start against the Cubs after three scoreless innings with tightness in his shoulder. He underwent treatment on Wednesday and threw long toss on Thursday. Feliz said he still felt a little tight on Thursday, but was better on Friday and will throw again on Saturday.
"We'll see how it feels [on Saturday], but it feels better today," Feliz said. "Nobody has said anything to me about my next start, but I'll throw tomorrow and see how it feels."