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.
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.