Saturday, August 31, 2013
Buzz: Neftali Feliz to be activated Sunday
By Todd Wills
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Neftali Feliz was back with the Texas Rangers on Saturday and will be activated Sunday, 13 months after undergoing Tommy John ligament replacement surgery.
Feliz is one of four players within the organization expected to be added Sunday when rosters are expanded for the final month of the season. Designated hitter Lance Berkman and pitchers Nick Tepesch and Michael Kirkman also are expected to be activated off the disabled list.
Feliz said Saturday that it's taken a lot of patience, being stuck in the hot summer in Arizona and then spending a month rehabbing with Triple-A Round Rock. He feels he's close to his old self after not allowing a run in 8⅔ innings for Triple-A Round Rock.
"I'm about 95 to 97 percent," Feliz said. "The more I throw the better I feel."
Joakim Soria, who has become an important member of the Rangers' bullpen after recovering from Tommy John surgery, helped Feliz during the tough times.
"He said, 'Don't be afraid,'" Feliz said.
The Rangers have had good reports on Feliz, from his command and velocity to his changeup. General manager Jon Daniels said Friday that Feliz has been more focused on pitching than trying to light up the radar gun.
"I'm trying to keep my pitches down," Feliz said. "Breaking ball and fastball down."
Look for Tepesch to join the bullpen after being on the disabled list since July 6 with right elbow inflammation. That plan is subject to change depending on current fifth starter Travis Blackley's performance and matchups.
"Don't be surprised if you see [Tepesch] start," manager Ron Washington said.
Tepesch pitched four scoreless innings for Double-A Frisco on Friday, allowing four hits and walking one. He threw 59 pitches.
Left-hander Michael Kirkman allowed five runs in 5⅓ innings and threw 100 pitches in a start for Round Rock on Friday.
Who else is coming?: The Rangers are expected to add several more players to their expanded roster after Round Rock's season is over on Monday.
Right-hander Ross Wolf, catcher Robinson Chirinos and outfielder Jim Adduci will be added. Another outfielder, Engel Beltre, could join the club.
Adduci has been on a tear over the past month, batting .483 for August with a .465 on-base percentage. He's also a good runner who will help in pinch-running situations.
Darvish must push on: Rangers ace Yu Darvish has lost a two-run lead on home runs his past two starts against the Chicago White Sox and the Minnesota Twins in the sixth and seventh innings, respectively.
That's two starts in a row in which an American League bottom-dweller has gotten Darvish. Washington will continue to go with Darvish deep into games. It's up to his ace to push through tough situations, he said.
"He has to figure out a way to get through it," Washington said. "No way [will he pull Darvish early]. He's a bona fide pitcher. It's random. He's never had issues getting through a ballgame in his career. He's going to have to figure it out."
Ogando needs another pen: Alexi Ogando threw 35 pitches in a bullpen session Saturday and said he'll need one more before he's ready to be activated from the disabled list.
Ogando has been out for two weeks with inflammation in his right elbow. No decision has been made on whether Ogando will start or come out of the bullpen.
"I don't know what the plan is for me," Ogando said. "It's their decision."
Short hops: Class A Hickory third baseman Joey Gallo had his second three-home run game this season on Friday night, giving him 38 long balls on the season
The Rangers entered the final day of August with 38 stolen bases, their fourth-highest monthly total in club history. The record is 42 from June 1978.