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Feldman expects to be ready by Spring Training

'I feel better than I have in years,' righty says
MLB.com @brianmctaggart

HOUSTON -- The signing of right-hander Doug Fister last week gives the Astros enough rotation depth to weather an injury to one of their starters. Veteran right-hander Scott Feldman is coming off a shoulder injury that cost him the final month of last season, and he expects to be ready to compete when Spring Training starts in two weeks.

Feldman, who was shut down on Sept. 1 because of a right shoulder sprain, was able to avoid surgery and has been throwing during the offseason with promising results. He says his arm feels great and he should be 100 percent when pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 18 in Kissimmee, Fla.
 

HOUSTON -- The signing of right-hander Doug Fister last week gives the Astros enough rotation depth to weather an injury to one of their starters. Veteran right-hander Scott Feldman is coming off a shoulder injury that cost him the final month of last season, and he expects to be ready to compete when Spring Training starts in two weeks.

Feldman, who was shut down on Sept. 1 because of a right shoulder sprain, was able to avoid surgery and has been throwing during the offseason with promising results. He says his arm feels great and he should be 100 percent when pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 18 in Kissimmee, Fla.
 

Video: SEA@HOU: Feldman exits the ballgame in the 3rd

"I don't think I realize how bad I felt [last year] before I hurt my arm," Feldman said. "Playing catch and throwing, I feel better than I have in years."

That's great news for the Astros, who have a deep rotation that features 2015 American League Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel, 19-game winner Collin McHugh, up-and-coming Lance McCullers and no-hit author Mike Fiers. Fister, also coming off an injury, was added on a one-year deal last week that will pay him $7 million ($5 million more possible in incentives).

Video: Astros rotation deeper after Fister's one-year deal

Feldman, in the third year of a three-year, $30 million deal, was held to 108 1/3 innings in 18 starts last year because of right knee surgery and his ailing shoulder. He was an effective starter last year when healthy and wound up going 5-5 with a 3.90 ERA.

If Fister and Feldman can give the Astros healthy seasons, rotation depth could boost Houston to the top of the AL West.

"The last thing we want is to get to the end of May and have an injury or two and realize we didn't prepare ourselves," general manager Jeff Luhnow said. "I think we're prepared in the rotation."

Feldman has battled injuries throughout his Major League career, ranging from knee surgery to biceps tendinitis. He underwent Tommy John surgery in the Minor Leagues in 2003. He understands more than anyone how dicey health can be, especially now at 32 years old.

"I think, obviously, staying healthy is the name of the game, especially just trying to get out here and throw as many innings as I can to help the guys and not have to bring the bullpen in in the fifth or sixth inning," Feldman said. "Hopefully, we can all go out there and throw a bunch of innings and have a nice, healthy year."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros, Scott Feldman