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Feliz throws baseball for first time since surgery

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ARLINGTON -- Neftali Feliz threw soft toss Friday at the Rangers' pitching minicamp at the Ballpark in Arlington, the first time he's thrown a baseball since undergoing Tommy John surgery last June.

Feliz said he felt good afterward, and looks forward to the long climb back onto a Major League mound. The Rangers hope Feliz will pitch some time this season, the best-case scenario being around the All-Star break.

"He's probably on schedule to where he needs to be," Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux said to reporters after Friday's minicamp session. "Hopefully the rehab goes well and we'll see him this year."

Feliz said he doesn't know how long the rehab process will take. He's focused on getting healthy. When asked if he would prefer returning as a starter or a reliever -- Feliz was in the rotation when he tore his ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching arm -- he said didn't know.

"I'm not giving that much thought right now," Feliz said through an interpreter. "I'm trying to get ready and be in the best shape and be ready to play."

Feliz did have his contract situation worked out Thursday. He and the Rangers avoided salary arbitration, with Feliz agreeing to a one-year, $2.9 million contract.

He tweeted Friday in Spanish that the deal was done and he was happy.

"The timing's good because I want to get my family in a better position," Feliz said.

Feliz was the 2010 American League Rookie of the Year as the Rangers' closer with 40 saves. He had 32 saves in 2011, but was moved to the rotation in '12. He was 3-1 with a 3.16 ERA in eight games (seven starts), with 37 strikeouts and 23 walks.

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