SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers are ready to set their rotation.Neftali Feliz had no problems with his right shoulder during Tuesday night's start against the Royals' Double-A team. Feliz, who left his last outing on March 20 against the Cubs after three scoreless innings with tightness in his right shoulder, went four innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on six hits and one walk, while striking out three. Feliz threw 68 pitches, and his fastball hit as high as 96 mph on the radar gun.
"My shoulder is a lot better. It sounds good," Feliz said. "I wasn't trying to throw hard. I was trying to keep all my pitches down and get all my work in. My arm feels good. I feel I'm ready for the season."
Feliz will still get one more outing before the Rangers leave Arizona. He is scheduled to pitch again on Sunday in either against the Padres in a Cactus League game or another Minor League game.That will put him in position to open the season as the Rangers' fifth starter. Colby Lewis, who also pitched in a Minor League game against the Royals on Tuesday night, is the Rangers' Opening Day starter and will be followed by Derek Holland, Matt Harrison, Yu Darvish and Feliz. The Rangers set up their rotation that way going into Spring Training and do not seem inclined to change it now. Unless a last-minute decision or injury occurs, Darvish will make his first start for the Rangers on April 9 against the Mariners at the Ballpark in Arlington. Lewis, Holland and Harrison are scheduled to pitch the Opening Series against the White Sox, although the Rangers have not officially announced anything yet. "We're going to announce the rotation soon," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. Alexi Ogando is headed for the bullpen. He has been stretched out as a starter and is scheduled to pitch six innings in a Minor League game against the Dodgers on Wednesday. The Rangers, who remember Tommy Hunter getting hurt late in Spring Training last year, wanted Ogando ready in case something like that happened this year. But Feliz's shoulder is the only red flag that has popped up in the Rangers rotation this spring, and he has been able to overcome that quickly. All four other starters have sailed through the spring without any physical issues at all. So Ogando and Scott Feldman, who has also had a terrific spring, will end up in the bullpen along with closer Joe Nathan, setup reliever Mike Adams and three others to be determined. Lewis pitched against Triple-A Omaha, the Royals' affiliate. He went six innings, allowing three hits and no runs, walking two and striking out six.
"I felt good. I ran it up to almost 100 pitches," Lewis said. "It felt really good. I was moving the ball in and out. My offspeed stuff was good. My changeup was good. I was really happy with it."
Nathan followed Feliz in his game, and retired the side in order in his only inning of work. He struck out two.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.