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NYY@TEX: Feliz throws a 1-2-3 ninth inning to save it

When the Braves acquired Mark Teixeira from the Rangers at the 2007 Trade Deadline, their players and fans gained a sense Atlanta could contend for the World Series. There was not a lot of concern about losing five prospects in exchange for a power-hitting first baseman, who could test the free-agent market at the conclusion of the following season.

But four years later, Braves' fans are more consumed that -- in exchange for one calendar year of Teixeira -- they parted ways with five prospects, including Elvis Andrus and Neftali Feliz, who have already established themselves as All-Stars and two of the game's top young players.

Meanwhile, the memories of the 37 homers Teixeira hit in the 157 games he played for the Braves have faded. His brief stay in Atlanta did not afford him his wish to experience the postseason with Chipper Jones.

"The logic behind the trade was sound," Jones said. "Some things just didn't work out."

With the Rangers coming to Turner Field for a three-game series that begins Friday night, the Braves will compete against Andrus, Feliz and Matt Harrison for the first time since packaging them in the deal for Teixeira.

Harrison will be on the mound to oppose Derek Lowe and the Braves on Saturday afternoon. The Rangers will send Colby Lewis to the mound Friday night to oppose Randall Delgado, who will be making his Major League debut while pitching in place of Tommy Hanson, who is battling right shoulder tendinitis.

"People are already asking me if I'm extra excited to face my old team," Andrus said. "It will be nice to see some old friends. But it's the same mentality, we have to go out and win the series."

While this trade will serve as a sidebar throughout the weekend, both of these legitimate postseason contenders need to escape their recent struggles. The Braves snapped a three-game losing streak with Thursday's win over the Mets. The first-place Rangers have lost six straight and eight of their past 10 games.

"It will be good to be there," Feliz said. "I played with a lot of those guys. I don't know what would have happened if I stayed in Atlanta, but I'm here in the big leagues and I played in the World Series last year. I'm happy to stay here and play with the Texas Rangers."

When the Braves completed the seven-player trade that brought them both Teixeira and left-handed reliever Ron Mahay, the centerpiece of their prospect package was believed to be catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. But while the 26-year-old Saltalamacchia is now attempting to establish himself in Boston, the 22-year-old Andrus and 23-year-old Feliz are bidding for All-Star selections for a second consecutive season.

Given the chance to put Teixeira's powerful bat between Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones, the Braves felt they could part ways with Saltalamacchia, whose path was blocked by Brian McCann, and Elvis Andrus, who was a highly regarded 18-year-old shortstop playing at Class A Myrtle Beach at the time of the trade.

Yunel Escobar had given the Braves reason to believe he would be their shortstop of the future. So as John Schuerholz neared the final months of his storied career as a general manager, he was willing to trade Andrus' potential value for the immediate impact Teixeira could bring.

Teixeira hit .317, with 17 homers and 56 RBIs in the 54 games he played for the Braves during the final two months of the 2007 season. The switch-hitting first baseman lived up to all expectations and he might have at least led the Braves to the postseason had shortstop Edgar Renteria not missed more than a month after spraining his ankle on Aug. 2 -- one day after Teixeira's Braves' debut.

"We were looking for the quick fix," Chipper Jones said. "We got it. It didn't pan out. If we would have won the World Series, you would have said right then and there that it was the right move. Three years later, you still would have probably said it wasn't the right move."

The Braves knew Andrus would be a talented shortstop who possessed good speed and potential for power. As he approaches a third consecutive 30-stolen base season with a .337 slugging percentage, their evaluation appears sound.

When the Braves traded Harrison, he was respected 20-year-old prospect who was battling shoulder problems. Four years later, he has added approximately 20 pounds, gained about six mph on his fastball and become a decent back-of-the-rotation starter.

Just 19 years old and pitching for Rookie Level Danville, Va., Feliz was the wild card. While he had a good arm, he possessed a much skinnier frame than the one that now helps him light up radar guns with 98-mph fastballs. He notched 40 saves on the way to being named last year's American League Rookie of the Year.

Feliz has been much less effective this year, issuing 15 walks and recording just 13 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings. Based on this year's results, the Braves have had two better late-inning options in Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel.

Andrus seems to have thought about how he likely wouldn't have advanced to the Majors as early as he did if he had stayed with the Braves, who didn't give up on Escobar until he became too much of a clubhouse distraction last year. Before he enjoyed his first career four-hit game against the Mets on Thursday night, Braves' center fielder Jordan Schafer talked about how excited he was to be able to spend this weekend with Andrus. They developed a bond during the earliest day of their professional careers and continue to talk on a daily basis.

"When a team trades for you and it's that high profile of a trade, that team wants you pretty badly," Schafer said. "It was great for him at the time. I wish he was still here, but that's just the way the game works."

Rangers: Healthy Feliz looking forward to series
Feliz spent some time on the disabled list due to inflammation in his pitching shoulder, but he's excited to show what he can do against Atlanta, the organization that signed him as a teenager. Feliz has saves in five of his last six opportunities, and he's logged a 2.40 ERA in the first 113 appearances of his career.

"It will be good to be there," said Feliz of competing against his former teammates. "I played with a lot of those guys. I don't know what would have happened if I stayed in Atlanta, but I'm here in the big leagues and I played in the World Series last year. I'm happy to stay here and play with the Texas Rangers."

Braves: Uggla starting to heat up
The Braves are starting to see some results from second baseman Dan Uggla. Uggla, a two-time All-Star who was acquired in an offseason trade with the Marlins, has homered twice in his last five games. Still, the veteran is batting just .174, a run that includes a .160 mark in May.

Worth noting
The Rangers have lost five straight games -- their longest losing streak of the season -- and are just 1-6 on their current road trip. ... The Braves are 28-7 when they score first this season, and 11-24 when their opponent draws first blood. Comments