Cubs' defense backs Feldman in debut

MESA, Ariz. -- Scott Feldman likes pitching for the Cubs when the defense makes plays like Jorge Soler did in the first inning Thursday.

Soler, starting in right field against the Athletics, showed his strong arm when he threw a perfect strike to get Josh Reddick out at third base as he tried to advance on Brandon Moss' hit.

"It seems like they have some studs, some young guys who are going to be studs," Feldman said of the Cubs' prospects. "That throw [Soler] made from right field is about as good a throw as you can make. Reddick got thrown out there, and he had a look of shock on his face, like, 'You're not supposed to throw me out like that.' It was a good play."

Feldman had a good day in his Cubs debut. He gave up one run and two hits, walked two and struck out two over two innings.

"First time out there, you kind of get the butterflies going again," Feldman said. "It was nice to get that one out of the way. For the most part, I was executing my pitches pretty well. I would've liked to have thrown more breaking balls for a strike, but for the first time out, it was fine."

Feldman had spent his entire career with the Rangers, so he has been spending a lot of time this spring getting to know his teammates.

"It's been fun to get to know a new group of guys," he said. "I think everybody in here has that goal to play in the postseason. Any time everybody has that common goal and works hard to try to achieve it, it's a lot of fun."