Neftali Feliz throws for first time since surgery
ARLINGTON, Texas – Playing catch for a baseball player doesn't seem like that big of a deal.
It was for Texas right-hander Neftali Feliz Friday.
Feliz played catch for the first time since he had Tommy John surgery last August. He was at Rangers Ballpark as part of the team's winter pitching camp.
Feliz said he was a little nervous, but he's cleared another hurdle in what he hopes is a return to the Texas pitching staff sometime this season.
"I feel strong," Feliz said. "I feel good. I've been doing everything the team wants me to do, lifting weight, getting stronger and doing what they want. It felt good."
Feliz is still a long way from being an option for the Rangers. The target for his return is sometime after the All-Star break. He understands the process in coming back from the surgery is a long one.
"They make the decisions on when I'll throw more often," he said. "They'll make it when the decision is right."
Feliz has already had a busy week in Arlington. Thursday he agreed to a one-year deal that will pay him $2.9 million plus incentives this season. He'll get a head start on spring training when he heads to Surprise Saturday to continue his rehab.
Feliz was 3-1 as a starter last season for Texas. When he returns this season, it will likely be as a reliever, but Feliz isn't concerned about his role right now.
"I'm not giving that any thought," he said. "I just want to get ready, be in the best shape and get ready to play. I don't think about being a starter or a reliever. I just want to be healthy."