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Neftali Feliz: “When I take too many days off my arm doesn’t feel too good”

Sep 2, 2014, 11:19 AM EDT

Neftali Feliz Getty Getty Images

Neftali Feliz took over as the Rangers’ closer following the trade of Joakim Soria, filling the ninth-inning role he once thrived in, but the post-Tommy John surgery version of Feliz has unfortunately looked much different.

Feliz has a nice-looking 2.78 ERA in 21 appearances, but he’s managed just 14 strikeouts in 23 innings while walking eight batters and serving up five homers. He’s also averaged 92.5 miles per hour on his fastball, compared to 96.3 miles per hour in 2010-2011 when he was racking up saves.

Feliz is still just 26 years old and some pitchers simply take longer than other to regain their best raw stuff after going under the knife, but manager Ron Washington admitted to Calvin Watkins of ESPN Dallas that he’s “still trying to figure it out” regarding Feliz’s up-and-down velocity.

Also of note: Feliz told Watkins that he wants more consistent usage because “when I take too many days off, my arm doesn’t feel too good.”

  1. rollinghighwayblues - Sep 2, 2014 at 11:34 AM

    Seems like yesterday when he was pumping in 98mph with relative ease it looked like. I watched him a couple weeks ago and he was struggling to get to 90mph.

  2. ud1951 - Sep 2, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    I think this is the reality of being a closer, there is a sweet spot for use, too much and you wear down and get into trouble, too little and you’re not sharp. Getting a closer whose optimal work schedule coincides with a team’s need for a closer is harder than it looks–see Rosenthal with the Cardinals. As offensively challenged as the Cards have been, but with decent pitching, it seems like they need their closer just about every night.

    If we are entering a new age of pitching and less offense, teams may have to figure out how to develop and use two closers equally. If you 80+ save situations a season, I doubt one guy can do that, year in and year out.

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