Feliz is heading to AA Frisco today for a rehab appearance. This will be his first game since being placed on the DL on April 21 – which happened to be his first time ever on the disabled list. He had a bullpen session on Monday of 46 pitches, after which the Rangers decided to let him make a rehab appearance. Apparently, his bullpen session went pretty well.
If his rehab appearance goes well – which is expected – he could be activated by on the active roster as early as Friday…in time to be eligible for Friday’s game, which is the first game in which the Rangers head to Yankee Stadium in hopes of winning this series.
While Felix has been on the DL, Darren Oliver and Arthur Rhodes have been the specified closers. Some days have been good and some haven’t and the bullpen is currently a major concern for the Rangers especially when you look at how many games the Rangers have lost in the final innings of the games.
If Feliz can get back in tip-top shape and be eligible for Friday, it could help the Rangers out a lot.
The 2010 AL Rookie of the Year has also made a decision regarding himself with the Rangers: he wants to close and never wants to start. He says that he did enjoy his time over the spring as a starter, but he hopes to remain a closer for the rest of his baseball career. His injury is one reason for this decision I believe.
Felix told USA Today, “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. 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.”
General Manager Jon Daniels says that Feliz will remain as a closer the rest of this year but whether or not he will still be in the bullpen next year is a decision that is left up to the winter offseason months.
I was caught between whether I wanted him as a starter or a closer over spring training, but he is a closer at heart. That is where he needs to be and that’s where he needs to stay. The Rangers need him in the bullpen much more than they need him as a starter – and they know that because that’s why he started the season as a closer and not a starter.
I personally hope that Feliz is still a closer in 2012 for the Rangers rather than a starter although he could be a hell of a starter once he got the hang of it.
All the best of luck to Nefty, who is by far one of the best closers in Major League Baseball. Who thinks he’ll match or top his record of 40 saves from last year, which by the way was a MLB record of rookies?