Tag:Neftali Feliz
Posted on: May 15, 2011 1:32 pm
 

Feliz felt 'cranky' Saturday

By Matt Snyder

With the Rangers in a high-leverage situation late in Saturday's game against the Angels -- a team the Rangers trailed by a half-game in the standings at the time -- Ron Washington had to turn to Darren Oliver for the 17th time of the season. The 40-year-old reliever is on pace to establish a new career high in appearances. Meanwhile, hot shot closer Neftali Feliz and his 0.79 ERA went unused. He did pitch Friday, but it it was only his second outing since May 7.

"He felt a little cranky," Washington said (star-telegram.com). "So we stayed away from him."

There was no further elaboration on the point, so it's tough to surmise what "cranky" even means. Feliz did return from a shoulder injury May 6, so it's possible there's some residual soreness.

Whatever the issue, the Rangers need it fixed pretty quickly. Feliz is a stud closer, but he's got to be able to throw on back-to-back days if the team needs him -- especially with Darren O'Day on the shelf and the Rangers having lost their grip on first place. They are just 6-12 since a hot start and are now tied for second with the A's.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: May 6, 2011 5:53 pm
 

Rangers activate Feliz, hold extra pitcher

By Matt Snyder

The Rangers activated closer Neftali Feliz, as expected, from the 15-day disabled list Friday. Instead of sending a relief pitcher down the minors in a corresponding move, they instead optioned catcher Taylor Teagarden -- so they're carrying eight relief pitchers. This was done because starter Alexi Ogando is still dealing with the blister in his right index finger. He's expected to make his scheduled start Sunday, but just in case he's unable to go, the Rangers have an extra pitcher on the roster. (Foul Territory )

Ogando is wearing a fake fingernail to help alleviate the effects of the blister, but it could still be an issue. The problem with blisters in fingers for pitchers isn't pain at all. It's the ability to control their pitches with normal effectiveness. In Ogando's case, it hasn't much bothered him yet. He first developed the blister in his third start and is still 3-0 with a 2.17 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in six starts. Since he hasn't thrown a bullpen session since his last start, however, it's possible the blister is getting worse.

As for Feliz, he's likely to return to dominant form immediately. He's closed all five of his save chances this season with a 1.08 ERA and six strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings. His activation slides Darren Oliver back into his setup role and helps alleviate the loss of Darren O'Day.

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Posted on: May 4, 2011 9:34 pm
 

Feliz's rehab appearance goes well

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Neftali FelizThe Rangers have said they'd like to bring closer back Neftali Feliz from the disabled list quickly if he had no problems in his rehab appearance tonight at Double-A Frisco.

Well, expect Feliz back pretty soon, because he didn't have any problems against San Antonio. Feliz gave up a leadoff single to Blake Tekotte, but then struck out the next three batters he faced. He was consistently throwing in the mid-90s with his fastball.

Feliz needed 22 pitches in his inning.

"It felt good," Feliz told ESPNDallas.com's Calvin Watkins. "My arm started to feel good, but when I wanted to locate my fastball I could."

The team will likely see how he feels tomorrow, but expect him back with the team Friday, the first day he is eligible to come off the DL.

The Rangers can certainly use him with their bullpen blowing leads late in each of their last two games. Darren Oliver and Arthur Rhodes have had saves in Feliz's absence. Feliz was put on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. 

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Category: MLB
Posted on: May 4, 2011 1:38 am
Edited on: May 4, 2011 1:45 am
 

3 up, 3 down: Liriano's no-no

Francisco Liriano
By C. Trent Rosecrans

3UP

Francisco Liriano, Twins -- I'm making a new rule here, you throw a no-hitter, you get in 3 up, 3 down. I'm sure Francisco appreciates it. A tip of the cap to White Sox starter Edwin Jackson, who was pretty good, too. Jackson gave up one run on six hits in eight innings.

Daniel Descalso, Cardinals -- The infielder's first career homer, a three-run shot off of Clay Hensley in the seventh inning, gave the Cardinals the lead, and ultimately the 7-5 victory over the Marlins. Descalso was 2 for 3, playing second and third in the game.

Raul Ibanez, Phillies -- Ibanez snapped an 0-for-35 streak with a fourth-inning ground-rule double off of the Nationals' Livan Hernandez. He added another double in the seventh inning that scored a run in the Phillies' 4-1 victory. He's now hitting a robust .168.

3DOWN

Mike Leake, Reds -- After Tuesday night's performance, the Reds announce Leake would be headed to the bullpen to make room for Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey to return to the rotation. Leake allowed seven runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings in a 10-4 loss to the Astros, but he did strike out five in that short time.

Rangers bullpen -- The Rangers' Pedro Strop gave up leads in the seventh and eighth inning as the Rangers lost in an opponent's final at-bat for the sixth time this season and second time in a row, also losing to the A's in the 10th inning on Monday. Darren Oliver allowed Hideki Matsui's walkoff on Monday, and gave up an RBI single to Jack Cust on Tuesday to score the winning run (even though it was charged to Strop). Neftali Feliz is scheduled to return soon, and it won't be too soon for the Rangers.

Josh Thole, Mets -- With bases loaded and one out in the ninth inning, the Mets catcher did the one thing his team couldn't afford him to do -- ground into a double play. The Mets then lost the game in the 10th on Aubrey Huff's homer off of Taylor Buchholz. Thole also had a throwing error in the fourth inning the helped lead to a Giants' run.

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Posted on: May 2, 2011 9:43 pm
 

Feliz's rehab stint to be short

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Neftali FelizThe Rangers aren't going to waste any time bringing closer Neftali Feliz back -- if he gets through one inning without complications in a Double-A game on Wednesday, the team will bring him back on Friday, the first day he is eligible.

Feliz threw 46 pitches in a bullpen session Monday in Oakland.

"He said he felt good, so he's ready to get out of here," manager Ron Washington told Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "Hopefully, that goes well and we can activate him Friday when he's ready to come off."

Tommy Hunter will start that game for Double-A Frisco (Texas). Hunter's return won't be as quick as Feliz's.

The Rangers will be happy to get Feliz back. The Rangers' bullpen has struggled since Feliz went on the disabled list. On Monday, Arthur Rhodes gave up the team's lead in the eighth to Josh Willingham and then Hideki Matsui ended the game with a solo homer in the 10th inning off Darren Oliver. Oliver also picked up the loss last Thursday in a  loss to the Blue Jays. Rhodes and Oliver have picked up the only saves for the Rangers since Feliz went on the DL with right shoulder inflammation.

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Posted on: May 2, 2011 10:28 am
 

Pepper: Streaking Ethier, struggling arms

By Matt Snyder
 
Baseball Today: Can Andre Ethier extend his hitting streak to 28 games? Will Madison Bumgarner and Clay Buchholz get back on track tonight? Tom Boorstein of MLB.com joins Lauren Shehadi with the latest.


Padres PAYROLL TO RISE: The San Diego Padres have been one of the teams in the majors unable to re-up with stud veteran players in recent years (Adrian Gonzalez is the latest example, as he was traded with the writing on the wall in terms of an extension), but things may change slightly in the near future. With a new TV deal on the horizon, CEO Jeff Moorad said Sunday a new deal would have a "direct impact" on player salaries, increasing the payroll by as much as 20 percent. (Sign on San Diego )

ON OSWALT: Roy Oswalt is tending to his family in tornado-ravaged Mississippi and won't make it back for his previously scheduled start on Tuesday. Instead, he's likely to rejoin the team Thursday and start Saturday. (MLB.com ) In related matters, ESPN's Buster Olney noted Sunday night that he felt Oswalt -- among players with whom he's ever conversed -- is the most likely to leave baseball whenever he felt it necessary. I know a few years back Oswalt was a guy who had talked more than once about an early retirement. It's an interesting discussion in which there is no right answer, but he simply may be a guy who holds personal matters closer than his profession.

FICKLE FELIZ: Sunday, USA Today reported that Neftali Feliz said he wanted to close for the rest of his career -- and didn't want to deal with trying to stretch out as a starter. Later Sunday, however, he backtracked a bit, saying: "At the end of the year, we'll talk about it again." This shouldn't be a shock, as Feliz is young, emotional and has changed his mind on this specific issue before. (MLB.com )

SEND HIM A VALENTINE: Apparently Jose Reyes owes his ability to switch-hit with effectiveness to former manager Bobby Valentine. Reportedly, before Sunday night's game against the Phillies, Valentine told Mets manager Terry Collins, "in case anyone asks, I made him into a switch-hitter." It sounds a bit pompous on the surface, but it's evidently true, because Reyes backed him up. Sure, Reyes was already a switch-hitter, but he was awful from the left side until Valentine worked with him. “At that time it was still kind of new to me and I was struggling from the left side,” Reyes said. “I didn’t have any confidence, but Bobby helped me a lot. He really worked with me and it made a huge difference for me.” (New York Times )

A NEW CLUBHOUSE RECORD: Mets bullpen catcher Dave Racaniello devoured 14 cheesesteaks during the weekend series in Philadelphia, setting a record for the visitors' clubhouse. Not shockingly, the previous record-holder was the robust Dmitri Young. (ESPN New York )

VERNON'S PICKLE: I didn't catch the go-ahead run in the Angels-Rays game Sunday (I watch as much as I can, but you can only toggle so much effectively -- stuff is bound to get missed), but I repeatedly saw on Twitter and in my Google Reader how Vernon Wells was the hero for his savvy baserunning display. It's interesting, all he really did was get caught in a rundown. (MLB.com ) I've defended Wells in the past against home fans booing him, but this is a bit hard to understand. It would have been lazy and, frankly, stupid if he didn't avoid the initial tag. It's probably just a case of a guy struggling and local writers/fans just wanting to praise him for anything positive. And I won't blame anyone for that.

BIZARRO BUCS:
The Pirates have been maligned for the better part of the last 20 years for not holding any quality players through free agency, coughing most up via trade. Andrew McCutchen has the potential to be a superstar and there is talk he might get a long-term contract. In fact, he said, "I'm willing to be here for my whole career." (Post-Gazette ) He won't be eligible for free agency until 2016, but this is a nice movement to see. I'm no Pirates fan, but it's not good for the game as a whole if any clubs are unable to keep any quality players.

DAY OR NIGHT? "The Decider" in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch poses the question, would you rather attend a baseball game during the day or at night? There are bound to be different answers for different circumstances -- for example, he points out that in St. Louis, humidity during the day in the middle of the summer is just brutal -- so the answers will most certainly vary. For me, being a Cubs fan, I will always choose day over night. There's just something about the sun shining over a 1:20 game that cannot be duplicated at night.

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Posted on: May 1, 2011 6:19 pm
 

Feliz eyes return, never wants to be starter

By Matt Snyder

Rangers closer Neftali Feliz has been shelved the past several weeks with rotator cuff inflammation in his throwing shoulder, but he appears close to coming back. In fact, he's planning on making his return Friday, as he felt no side effects from a Saturday evening bullpen session.

"He feels he can pitch in a game right now," pitching coach Mike Maddux said. (MLB.com )

Feliz will throw again Monday and if there are no setbacks, he'll take a very short minor-league rehab assignment.

Oh, while we're here, let's freak out sabermatricians.

Feliz doesn't want to ever be anything but a closer.

"I'm a closer now, and God willing I'll remain a closer the rest of my career. I made the decision that I won't start anymore," he told USA Today .

Part of his reasoning is that he believes his current arm injury stemmed from going back and forth between being a back-end reliever and stretching out to be a closer.

"The team has told me that next year I would still have the chance to start, but I don't want to do it anymore,'' Feliz said. "This year my arm didn't feel good after they moved me from the rotation back to closing, so I don't want to go through that again and risk the same thing happening.''

The argument goes like this: It's a waste of resources to have a pitcher with the ability of Feliz limited to only about 70 innings a season when you could eventually get around 200 innings out of him. The closer people will say the last three outs are the hardest to get in any game and you have to have someone with the proper mindset back there to finish things off. They'll point to Mariano Rivera being a cornerstone of the Yankees' dynasty -- the last one in the sport.

The best part about the argument is neither side will give an inch. They'll fight to the proverbial death and use all kinds of "evidence" to back up their side (one side with numbers only, the other side with anecdotes only).

And Neftali Feliz is going to be at the center of the argument for quite a while.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: April 27, 2011 1:11 pm
Edited on: April 27, 2011 4:41 pm
 

O'Day injury strains Texas bullpen

By Matt Snyder

Rangers relief pitcher Darren O'Day is headed to the disabled list with a torn labrum in his hip, reports ... Darren O'Day. Yes, gotta love the modern-day social media. O'Day posted this on his Facebook page Wednesday morning:

"Headed to the DL for a torn labrum in my left hip. Beyond that, I dont know much. Hopefully recovery will be quick, and I'll be back on the mound in no time."

Well, Wednesday afternoon, we know more and it's not good. He's headed to the 60-day disabled list and surgery is possible. (Dallas Morning News via Twitter)

With All-Star closer Neftali Feliz also on the shelf and Alexi Ogando in the rotation, that's three of the back-end bullpen arms the Rangers had planned upon by late March now not in the bullpen.

At present, the back-end has the ancient Arthur Rhodes and Darren Oliver -- who appears to be the top closing option with Feliz out. There are former starters Dave Bush and Brett Tomko as middle relief options. Pedro Strop and rookie Cody Eppley -- who looked good in his two-inning debut -- are left as the setup guys.

The bullpen hasn't been awful by any means this year. Rangers' relievers collectively have a 4.13 ERA, which is seventh in the AL. But now the anchor has been removed as has one of the better support men in O'Day (2.45 ERA in 7 1/3 innings).

To be very fair, Oliver, Rhodes, Strop, Eppley and Bush have been quite good -- albeit with limited time for some. It's just that as everyone gets bumped back one or two spots in his specific role in the bullpen, there's much less stability for the group as a whole. In turn, the starting pitchers may start to feel the strain as well, as they're expected to work deeper into games in hopes to not tax the new guys like Eppley and whoever replaces O'Day -- which looks like Ryan Tucker (ESPN Dallas ) -- or overwork the reliable veterans.

Feliz should be back by mid-May, and the guess is by then it will be a big reprieve from an area that evolved into a problem for the defending AL champs. If not, well, that's one deep staff.

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