Rangers Sign Reliever Joe Nathan, Will Move Neftali Feliz to Starting Spot

The Texas Rangers signed relief pitcher Joe Nathan, who had a team-record 260 saves over the past seven years with the Minnesota Twins, and will move reliever Neftali Feliz into a starting role.

The 37-year-old Nathan, who became a free agent after the 2011 Major League Baseball season, signed a two-year contract worth $14.5 million, MLB.com reported.

Nathan missed the 2010 season after ligament replacement surgery and returned this year to go 2-1 with a 4.84 earned run average in 48 relief appearances. He suffered a setback related to his elbow surgery in May and then converted 11 of 12 save opportunities after returning in June.

Feliz, 23, who was a starting pitcher in the minor leagues, joined the Rangers’ bullpen when he was called up in 2009 and has converted 72 of 81 save opportunities the past two years as the Rangers won consecutive American League championships.

The Rangers have told Feliz he’ll be a starting pitcher in 2012, MLB.com said, joining a rotation that includes Matt Harrison, Derek Holland, Alexi Ogando and Colby Lewis. The move might mean free agent C.J. Wilson, whose 16 wins in 2011 was tied for the team lead, won’t return to the club next season.

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at matuszewski@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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