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Rangers send former All-Star closer Neftali Feliz to Triple-A

By Matt Snyder | Baseball Writer

Neftali Feliz is still struggling with his fastball velocity.
Neftali Feliz is still struggling with his fastball velocity. (USATSI)

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As is customary this time of the year, the Texas Rangers sent out a press release Tuesday announcing a few roster moves. Among them:

--Optioned RHP Neftali Feliz to Triple-A Round Rock.

While it's not entirely shocking given the recent news around Feliz (we'll get to that), it's still noteworthy.

Feliz was an All-Star and the AL Rookie of the Year in 2011, when he saved 40 games with a 2.73 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 69 1/3 innings. He was a very good closer again in 2011 before being moved into the rotation in 2012. He was injured while in the rotation and required Tommy John surgery. Last season, he returned for 4 2/3 shutout innings.

This spring, though, he's struggled with velocity. He has a 4.50 ERA, 1.50 WHIP and six strikeouts in 10 innings. He already lost the closer job to Joakim Soria and now he's headed back to Triple-A.

Reports have Feliz's fastball sitting in the 90-92 mph range -- or lower -- this spring while he used to work around the 96-98 range when he was among the game's best relievers. Considering that he threw his fastball around 80 percent of the time in 2010-11, having lost that much velocity is a huge concern.

Feliz is only 25 years old, so he'll have plenty of time to regain his old form. He'll look to do so starting in Triple-A.

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