ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are pushing starter Neftali Feliz back in the rotation to give him extra rest. The immediate schedule allows them to do that and manager Ron Washington said it's better to do it now than later in the season.
Feliz, who last pitched on Saturday night against the Tigers, pitched an inning in relief in Wednesday's 7-3 win over the Yankees, setting down the side in the seventh after allowing Raul Ibanez's leadoff homer. Feliz was scheduled to start on Saturday against the Rays but will instead pitch on Tuesday against the Blue Jays.
"We either can take the opportunity to do it now, or we would have to do it on the back end," Washington said.
The Rangers did not do that early last season with Alexi Ogando in his first year as a starter and he seemed to fade in the second half. He was 9-3 with 2.92 ERA before the All-Star break and 4-5 with a 4.48 ERA afterward.
"We really didn't have a plan for Ogando, we just let him fly," Washington said. "We learned from that."
The Rangers will pitch Matt Harrison, Colby Lewis and Derek Holland during their three-game series with the Rays. Yu Darvish's next start will be Monday in Toronto followed by Feliz against the Blue Jays.
Feliz is 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA in his first three Major League starts after spending the past two seasons as the Rangers' closer. He said getting the extra time off is fine with him.
"Of course having the extra day is going to help me," Feliz said. "You never know. It's a long season. You never know how hard I'm going to be throwing and how many innings I'm going to work. I think it's going to help me out in the end."