SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Turns out Scott Feldman is lined up to be the Rangers' No. 3 pitcher in their rotation. The way the Rangers have it set up, he'll follow Rich Harden and C.J. Wilson. After Feldman comes Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis. That's the way pitching coach Mike Maddux has it lined up for the rest of the spring and leading into the season. That doesn't change Feldman's importance in the overall picture and on Tuesday afternoon, he pitched five innings in a Minor League game against Class A High Desert. He used the time to work on his changeup, which could be an important pitch for him this season.
"That gives him another dimension to play with," Maddux said. "With his changeup, he can go to the next level." Feldman reached a new level last season. It was his second season as a starter and he ended up winning 17 games and posting a 4.08 ERA in 34 games, including 31 starts, over 189 2/3 innings. Remember he didn't make his first start until April 25 and also ended the season with a three-game losing streak. The rest of the time he was right there with Kevin Millwood as the Rangers' two most reliable and consistent pitchers. There are those who wonder if Feldman can repeat that performance, a fair question considering two years ago he was a middle reliever who couldn't make the team. "I just know I'm working hard and getting better all the time," Feldman said. "Hopefully that will translate into a better season." There are reasons to hope Feldman can be better than last season. Feldman became a starter two springs ago when then-pitching coach Mark Connor suggested he go from a sidearm delivery to three-quarters. The suggestion did wonders for Feldman, but Maddux pointed out he's still trying to perfect the process of throwing from that arm slot.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.