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Rangers send Neftali Feliz back to the minors

Mar 25, 2014, 3:45 PM EDT

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Neftali Feliz was recovered enough from Tommy John elbow surgery to make six appearances for the Rangers in September of last season, throwing 4.2 scoreless innings, but after watching him pitch this spring the team has decided to send the 25-year-old former Rookie of the Year back to the minors.

Feliz gave up 13 hits in 10 innings, but also had a decent 6/2 K/BB ratio and reports on his velocity were relatively positive while still being a few miles per hour off his pre-surgery peak. He lost the closer competition to Joakim Soria–although perhaps it was never really much of a competition–and will now have to work his way back to the majors following some time at Triple-A.

General manager Jon Daniels indicated that the Rangers don’t expect Feliz to spend a lot of time in the minors, telling Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram that they want him to continue building arm strength. He’ll be used as a reliever, though, so it’s a performance issue more than a pitch count issue.

  1. zdravit - Mar 25, 2014 at 4:13 PM

    What a crime. Trade him.

  2. doctornature - Mar 25, 2014 at 4:24 PM

    Didn’t his winter ball reports say his velocity was back to near normal? Something tells me he is having problems with the elbow again and is afraid to cut it loose.

    • beefytrout - Mar 25, 2014 at 4:36 PM

      no – his velocity has been an issue all spring (I haven’t read anything “relatively positive” about it). He’s been averaging 92-93, and pre-surgery he was 95-96. He’s also had problems locating the ball. Basically, he’s still throwing the ball in the same location as before, but because of the decreased speed he’s not fooling batters now. The Rangers feel he’s being too tentative and not throwing as hard as he can.

      • geoknows - Mar 25, 2014 at 4:54 PM

        I too have heard nothing remotely positive about his velocity this spring. Keith Law reported that he was at 88-91 on Sunday.

    • beefytrout - Mar 25, 2014 at 5:21 PM

      I read doctornature’s post wrong… his winter ball velocity was up – he reached 97 there. But in spring training he only got as high as 95, and only twice.

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