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Oakland at Texas

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    Texas «9

    Rangers 9, Athletics 2

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    SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) - The Texas Rangers keep stretching out Neftali Feliz, just in case.

    The AL Rookie of the Year struck out four in three scoreless innings Wednesday as the Rangers beat the Oakland Athletics 9-2.

    Feliz posted 40 saves last year, then came to camp trying to win a spot in the Texas rotation. Earlier this week, he said he'd prefer to stay in his closer role.

    "Your heart's got to be in what you're going to do," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "If your heart isn't in it, we'll have to make that decision down the line."

    Feliz took over in the sixth inning and allowed one hit and walked two. He threw 53 pitches, 30 for strikes, and showed off a sharp slider to add to his curveball and 100-plus MPH fastball.

    Feliz was a lifelong starter until his move to the bullpen as a late-season callup to the bullpen in 2009. No matter what his role, pitching coach Mike Maddux said the extended repertoire can only be of benefit.

    "When you always have the almighty equalizer in your back pocket, you can use your other stuff and protect it," Maddux said.

    Feliz started to tire in eighth, walking the first two hitters he faced. But he finished in impressive fashion, striking out Josh Horton and Jai Miller to close out his day.

    "One of the things he showed last year," Maddux said, "is he may be a youngster but he's a man."

    Maddux has asked somewhat rhetorically whether it's better to have such an effective pitcher for 70 innings or 200-plus. At the same time, he conceded Wednesday that "you're only as good as your bullpen."

    "It all sounds great right now but come the regular season and we've got a lead after 8 1/2, then let's go win it. He doesn't have to be perfect. You don't have to be perfect as a closer. You just have to be pretty good and you'll have the advantage," he said.

    As Feliz and the Rangers mull his ultimate fate, one of his would-be competitors for a spot in the rotation, Derek Holland, posted a stellar outing in his second start.

    The left-hander gave up two hits and faced only one hitter over the minimum in his three-inning stint, striking out four.

    "I need to show that I belong in that rotation," Holland said. "I don't want anything else. I'm trying to get that starting rotation spot. I need to make a couple of statements and today was one."

    Oakland starter Dallas Braden allowed four runs and four hits before recording his first out, though he settled down in the final two innings to finish with five runs - three earned.

    Braden, 11-14 with a 3.50 ERA in 30 starts last year, said his approach will certainly be different once the season begins.

    "If it's that way in April, then we have a problem."

    David DeJesus and Landon Powell each hit their first home runs of the spring for the Athletics.

    NOTES: A's OF Ryan Sweeney made his spring debut and got two hits. ... Michael Young and Yorvit Torrealba each had RBI doubles in the Rangers' fix-run first. ... Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler singled to lead off the game and extend his hitting streak to seven games. ... Rangers RHP Brandon Webb threw 62 pitches in his first live batting practice session of the spring. ... Oakland 1B Daric Barton didn't make the trip with a bruised calf but is expected to play Thursday. ... Oakland RHP Craig Breslow is day-to-day with a strained left hamstring and will not pitch on Thursday as originally scheduled.

     
    Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
     
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    Oakland Athletics
    HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
    Mark Ellis, 2B3000001 .278
        Jemile Weeks, 2B2000011 .385
    David DeJesus, CF3121010 .308
        Michael Choice, CF0000100 .375
    Conor Jackson, 1B3000011 .043
        Wes Timmons, 1B0000100 .300
    Hideki Matsui, DH3000010 .071
       a- Matt Carson, PH-DH1000002 .250
    Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B3020000 .533
        Josh Horton, PR-3B1000012 .167
    Ryan Sweeney, RF3020001 .667
        Jai Miller, PR-RF1000012 .313
    Chris Carter, LF3000014 .240
        Michael Taylor, LF1000000 .179
    Landon Powell, C3121000 .286
        Anthony Recker, C1000010 .333
    Steve Tolleson, SS2000021 .211
        Andy LaRoche, SS2010010 .350
    Totals35292211  
    a-popped out for Matsui in the 8th
    Batting
    2B - Kevin Kouzmanoff (1, O'Day), Andy LaRoche (2, Strop)
    HR - David DeJesus (1, O'Day), Landon Powell (1, Rhodes)
    RBI - David DeJesus (1), Landon Powell (1)
    Team LOB - 8
    Fielding
    DP - Tolleson-Ellis-Jackson
    E - Steve Tolleson (2, Misplayed grounder)
    Oakland Athletics
    PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
    Dallas Braden (L,0-3) 2.2653120 10.80
    Gabe DeHoyos 0.1000000 0.00
    Brandon McCarthy 3411010 3.38
    Trystan Magnuson 1000010 5.40
    Jerry Blevins 1433101 15.75
    Pitches-Strikes - Dallas Braden 58-37, Gabe DeHoyos 1-1, Brandon McCarthy 54-37, Trystan Magnuson 14-8, Jerry Blevins 22-15
    Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dallas Braden 5-1, Brandon McCarthy 5-3, Trystan Magnuson 2-0, Jerry Blevins 2-1
    Batters Faced - Dallas Braden 15, Gabe DeHoyos 1, Brandon McCarthy 13, Trystan Magnuson 3, Jerry Blevins 8
    Texas Rangers
    HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
    Ian Kinsler, 2B4110001 .409
        Esteban German, 2B1000001 .278
    Elvis Andrus, SS4120001 .174
        Omar Quintanilla, SS1001000 .250
    Josh Hamilton, CF3110001 .227
        Craig Gentry, CF1000100 .000
    Nelson Cruz, RF2101100 .190
        Doug Deeds, RF2000012 .353
    Michael Young, 1B3222011 .526
        Chad Tracy, 1B1000000 .077
    Mike Napoli, DH4121002 .389
    David Murphy, LF3011002 .273
        Endy Chavez, LF1110000 .231
    Yorvit Torrealba, C3021002 .375
        Jose Felix, C11100001.000
    Chris Davis, 3B3000022 .385
        Andres Blanco, 3B1011000 .316
    Totals38914824  
    Batting
    2B - Michael Young (2, Braden), Endy Chavez (1, Blevins), Yorvit Torrealba (2, Braden)
    HR - Mike Napoli (2, Blevins)
    RBI - Omar Quintanilla (2), Nelson Cruz (2), Michael Young 2 (6), Mike Napoli (4), David Murphy (5), Yorvit Torrealba (2), Andres Blanco (1)
    2-OUT RBI - David Murphy (1), Yorvit Torrealba (2)
    Team LOB - 7
    Fielding
    DP - Davis-Kinsler-Young
    Texas Rangers
    PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
    Derek Holland (W,1-0) 3200040 1.80
    Darren O'Day (H,2) 1311001 6.00
    Arthur Rhodes (H,2) 1211021 3.00
    Neftali Feliz (H,1) 3100240 0.00
    Pedro Strop 1100010 0.00
    Pitches-Strikes - Derek Holland 37-30, Darren O'Day 25-17, Arthur Rhodes 15-10, Neftali Feliz 53-30, Pedro Strop 11-8
    Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Derek Holland 1-3, Neftali Feliz 2-3
    Batters Faced - Derek Holland 10, Darren O'Day 6, Arthur Rhodes 5, Neftali Feliz 12, Pedro Strop 4
    Game Information
    Attendance - 4066
    Game Time - 2:39
    Temperature - 73
    Umpires - Home - Bob Davidson, First Base - Chris Tiller, Second Base - Cory Blaser, Third Base - Chris Conroy