Feldman still has more to work on after tough outing

Right-hander struggles with command in loss to Braves

Feldman still has more to work on after tough outing

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- If the Braves didn't do enough damage against Astros starting pitcher Scott Feldman on Monday at Osceola County Stadium, the veteran right-hander did a good job of beating himself up.

Feldman, making his third start in Grapefruit League play, was rocked for seven hits, two walks and five earned runs in three innings of the Braves' 14-10 win. He said he struggled with his command, and his frustration was evident on the mound at several points.

"It's a little embarrassing to have games like that, but it's not like I'm checking my stats and stuff," he said. "Right now, after that, I know I need to work on a couple of things and hopefully get it knocked out before the season starts."

Feldman has two more starts remaining before the regular season, and he said trying to repeat your delivery is key when you're struggling with command. On Monday, he gave up a pair of runs in the first inning while leaving the bases loaded and sailed through the second inning before the Braves roughed him up for three runs on three hits.

"I feel like I had never pitched before," he said. "It was the weirdest thing. You don't want to have bad body language, but I could feel myself out there and felt like my head was going to explode. I had no idea where I was throwing the ball. It was really annoying."

Hinch on Feldman, Fields

Feldman, the Astros' Opening Day starter last year, will fall in line in the rotation somewhere behind Dallas Keuchel, who will take the ball when Houston opens the season on April 6 against the Indians. He takes comfort in the fact he feels fine physically, which wasn't the case last spring while he battled biceps tendinitis.

"If I'm feeling as good now, hopefully by the time the season starts I'm really feeling 100 percent and ready to go," he said.

Hinch said he's not concerned that Feldman won't be on track when the season begins.

"I obviously trust Scott to get himself ready," he said. "He's been in this league a long time. He's very well prepared. It's not good to see him struggle. From a concern standpoint, I know he'll answer the bell. We want to get him right and make sure he feels more comfortable and get his pitches where he wants. He's got a couple of more outings where he can be back on the horse."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.