Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 2/22/12
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- New Texas Rangers starter Neftali Feliz can't wait to get the season going. That may have been one of the reasons Feliz showed up at the Surprise Recreation Complex just after 6:30 Wednesday morning. Feliz, who is making the transition from closer to starter this spring, is ready to begin the process. He's already thrown four or five bullpen sessions. "I feel fine," Feliz said. "The hardest thing is going to be the pitch count. I've got to throw more. It's just a new routine." Feliz has already taken steps to try and get ready. Strength and conditioning coach Jose Vazquez put Feliz on a program with the main emphasis being to strengthen the lower half of his body for the added workload. As for the pitching part, Feliz thinks he can handle that himself. The biggest key there will be to develop pitches to go along with his fastball. "I've been working a lot more on my changeup," Feliz said. "I didn't use it much as a closer. The changeup and the slider are the two pitches I'm going to focus on." Napoli feeling fine Mike Napoli jogged around the clubhouse Wednesday to jokingly show the media that his left ankle was fine. Napoli took batting practice Tuesday and said he had no pain in the ankle. He's also caught off a machine and squatted behind the plate. "I ran yesterday and I felt pretty good," said Napoli. "Everything's good." Napoli is also ready for the challenge of being the team's No. 1 catcher. "I'm not going to back down from saying I can catch 130 games," Napoli said. "I'm up for a challenge. I haven't caught 100 games in I don't know how many years. I haven't been given the opportunity to do it. For people to say I can't do it is pretty crazy." Rangers hire Fernandez Former All-Star and Gold Glove shortstop Tony Fernandez has been hired by the club as a special assistant to general manager Jon Daniels. Fernandez, who played in the postseason for five different clubs, was on the field Wednesday with the pitchers and catchers. "I believe it's a mentorship program," Fernandez said of his role. "I will assist JD in different areas, it could be here, it could be with the big club. Wherever he needs is where I'll be." Fernandez has worked with the Tony Fernandez Foundation since he quit playing in 2001. The non-profit organization has offices in Canada, the United States and Dominican Republic. One role Fernandez will have is working with the club's infielders, including shortstop Elvis Andrus. While Fernandez hasn't seen Andrus play in person, he likes what he's seen from afar. "The few times I saw him were in the championships and the World Series," Fernandez said. "He's quick. I can see that. He has good range. There's always room for improvement. The most important thing is to develop a relationship with the players first."
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