SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers reliever Neftali Feliz has never been much of a talker. The Rangers want him to work on that part of his game.
The club wants to know what's going on with Feliz when he has outings like he had on Friday against the Brewers, when his velocity was down and his secondary pitches were erratic. The Rangers found out the next day that Feliz was dealing with a "dead body," and that may have contributed to the lackluster performance.
"I think Feliz's issue is communication more than anything," manager Ron Washington said. "We understand the velocity will take some time, but he needs to keep us aware with how he's feeling. When he has a day like the other day and he has a 'dead body,' he needs to communicate with us. Let us know how you feel and what's going on when we ask you."
Feliz, who missed almost all of 2013 while recovering from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery, came into camp hoping to be the Rangers' closer. He didn't achieve his goal. Instead Joakim Soria will handle the ninth inning, and Feliz still needs to win a job in the bullpen.
The biggest concern is Feliz's velocity has been around 91-93 mph this spring. He averaged 96 mph during his two years as Texas' closer in 2010-11.
"It depends on the day, sometimes you have velocity and sometimes you don't," Feliz said. "But I feel good. I have to keep working hard, and as soon as my velocity is up, I will be back to where I was."
Feliz said he was not disappointed at being passed over for the closer's role, and he's not concerned that he has to win a spot in the bullpen.
"It's not my decision," Feliz said. "It's out of my control. First of all, I'm healthy. My first goal is to keep myself healthy."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.