Oct 24, 2011; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers relief pitcher Scott Feldman throws a pitch in the sixth inning of game five of the 2011 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Rangers Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE

Spikes on the Ground

It’s official. Winter is behind us.

The Rangers kicked off their spring schedule yesterday, playing 9 innings against the Royals in Surprise, AZ. They lost 6-1, but don’t worry about that.

Some of yesterday’s highlights:

  • Colby Lewis gave up a 2-run homerun to Billy Butler. Then Twitter exploded.
  • Ian Kinsler had two errors at 2B, but I doubt he’ll be sent to minor league camp anytime soon.
  • Michael Kirkman struggled and gave up 4 runs in an inning. He was hurt somewhat by one of Kinsler’s errors, though.
  • Mitch Moreland supplied all of the Texas offense with a solo HR. So far it seems that his wrist has recovered.

That’s the gist of what happened out in Surprise yesterday, but there was something else that caught my attention. Something that a lot of people aren’t talking about.

Colby Lewis pitched the first two innings of yesterday’s game and then gave way to Scott Feldman, who pitched two innings of his own. Five of Feldman’s six outs were on ground balls and he would have had two 1-2-3 innings if not for an error by Ian Kinsler.

You can’t make any assumptions based this one performance, but I’m starting to wonder if Feldman is back. The Feldman that won 17 games in 2009, I mean. It could be a good year for him if he’s healthy and his sinker will actually sink.

The biggest thing to take away from this is what it means for the starting rotation. If Colby Lewis suffers injury or Neftali Feliz struggles early or Derek Holland is suffocated by his own moustache, Feldman will be the first line of defense.

(While Ogando is an option to make spot starts, Feldman seems more likely to step into the rotation on a long-term basis.)

The other thing to consider is what this might mean for Roy Oswalt.

Oswalt took a big risk when he turned down the Red Sox and Tigers, opting to wait ’til mid-season to field an offer from a contender. He said repeatedly that he only wanted to play for the Rangers or the Cardinals, but he’s going to lose a lot of leverage if the Rangers can plug in the Scott Feldman of 3 years ago.

Press on, Rangers fans.

(Leave a comment or find me on Twitter @BleacherSeatsTX. As always, thanks to Baseball Reference for their invaluable resources.)

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Tags: Roy Oswalt Scott Feldman Spring Training Texas Rangers

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