These could be big outings for both, and they openly admit that."It is very important," Feliz said. "I have to work on what I've been working on and pound the strike zone with all my pitches."
"I'm pretty happy in terms of progress," Wilson said. "I feel the work I put in during the offseason is translating, and I'm getting feedback from the people I am communicating with."I feel I'm in really good shape, and fitness is a huge deal for a starting pitcher. My focus has been good in my ability to get contact early in the count and change the knock on me as far as pitches per inning." Feliz has allowed six runs on six hits and two walks in four innings. His velocity has been there, but his command has been erratic, especially with his breaking ball. He admitted it has not been a good spring to this point. "Considering the type of pitcher I am, I haven't pitched very well," Feliz said. "I know there is a lot of talent here and a lot of competition. But I still have to do my job. My last outing, I was overconfident and trying to be very fine on my pitches. I have to start doing my job and not worrying about it." In the battle for the fifth starter spot, Wilson and Feliz are in a crowded field. Matt Harrison, the early leader, has not allowed a run over five innings. Right-hander Brandon McCarthy and left-hander Derek Holland each pitched three scoreless innings in their last starts. Both Wilson and Feliz were in the Rangers' bullpen at the end of last season. If Wilson doesn't make the rotation, that's where he'll be this season. There are no such guarantees for Feliz. Feliz could make the rotation or end up in the bullpen, but he could also find himself in Triple-A Oklahoma City as well. "I'd just like to see [Feliz] pick up his secondary stuff," Washington said. "That will be important for him. He needs to work on getting them over with consistency. We all know about his fastball, and he's got a pretty good changeup. A couple of days ago, he locked somebody up with his breaking ball. It's there. We just need to see consistency." Tuesday afternoon would be a good day to show just that.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.