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Friday a.m. Rangers stuff

For a few hours, the rotation was set.  Now, it is in flux again, as Tommy Hunter looks like he'll be starting the season on the disabled list for the third year in a row.

Michael Kirkman seems likely to take Hunter's spot in the rotation. Ron Washington praised Brett Tomko's performance yesterday, but says he's not a candidate for the rotation.

T.R. Sullivan says Julio Borbon is still the team's starting centerfielder, but the team wants to see more focus from him over the next week.

Randy Galloway talks to Nolan Ryan about the team's fortunes for this year and Neftali Feliz.  Ryan says he's not as confident in the team as he was earlier this month, and while he'd finally come around to agreeing with Jon Daniels that Feliz could cut it as a starter, the team needed him more in the bullpen this year than in the rotation.

So that means the organization doesn't realize that a top of the rotation starter is more valuable than a closer, right?


It means that they think the 2011 team is more valuable with Feliz in the bullpen, given what they think he will do as a reliever, and compared to the other options available out there, than with Feliz in the rotation, given what they think he could do as a starter, and compared to the other options available for the rotation.

Last year, C.J. Wilson was told he would be in the rotation only if he was one of the Rangers best two starting pitchers -- otherwise, he would be going back to the bullpen.  I think the situation with Feliz was similar...not that he had to be better than C.J. and Colby Lewis, but that he had to show that, if he was in the rotation, he'd be something more than a back-end of the rotation starter in 2011. 

You can argue about whether a decent #4 starter is more valuable than a lights-out closer, or whether the Rangers have sufficient options for the rotation to make Feliz more valuable in the bullpen than in the rotation.  And I think it is fair to assume that if this team was in rebuilding mode, rather than in win-now mode, Feliz would be in the rotation, rather than the bullpen.

I'm not sure this is the right decision...but I have a hard time saying definitively it is the wrong decision, either.  Regardless, it seems pretty clear that this is Feliz's last year in the bullpen, and the team is committed to getting him into the rotation in 2012, at the ripe old age of 23.   

Richard Durrett looks at the remaining roster decisions the team has to make.

The S-T's notes has a Q&A with Arthur Rhodes and touches on the Michael Young meeting with Jon Daniels and Brandon Webb's status.