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Rangers' Feliz makes statement in debut

Feliz makes statement in big league debut

OAKLAND -- Rangers rookie right-hander Neftali Feliz arrived in the Major Leagues with high expectations heaped on him and his debut is only going to stoke the anticipation.

Feliz struck out the side in the sixth inning on Monday night when he came in relief of Dustin Nippert with the Rangers holding a 1-0 lead against the Athletics. He threw 16 pitches and 11 were for strikes, including two that were clocked at 100 mph.

Feliz went against the top of the A's order, striking out Adam Kennedy, Kurt Suzuki and Scott Hairston.

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"When I first got up there, I felt a little nervous," Feliz said. "But once I threw the first pitch, I knew what I was doing and felt comfortable."

The Rangers sent Feliz out for a second inning and he retired the side in order, giving him six straight on the night. He struck out Jack Cust to start the inning, then retired Ryan Sweeney on a grounder to second baseman Joaquin Arias and Tommy Everidge on a foul pop to first baseman Hank Blalock.

"Pretty impressive debut," manager Ron Washington said. "Not so much the strikeouts but the way he filled up the strike zone with strikes."

Feliz's last pitch was clocked at 101.

"He threw hard," said the A's Adam Kennedy, Feliz's first career strikeout victim.

Most likely, the first of many.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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