Neftali Feliz to be handled like Joba?

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Much has been made about the impact that Nolan Ryan has had on the Texas Rangers pitching staff – how extending pitch counts produces positive results, how pitchers these days are babied too much, etc. However, it sounds like that mantra doesn’t apply to all Texas pitchers.

Word is the Rangers will be handling phenom Neftali Feliz similar to how the Yankees dealt with Joba Chamberlain back in 2007. No back-to-back appearances, and for every inning pitched, he gets a day off.
It’s unclear if Texas manager Ron Washington will strictly follow these guidelines as we get closer to the playoffs. It’s fine to implement restrictions in late August, but what happens during those two late-September series against the Angels if Vlad Guerrero comes up in a big spot on back-to-back nights? Or when the Rays come to town on that second-to-last weekend of the year, and the two teams are fighting for the Wild Card – do they still hold Feliz back?
It’ll be a situation worth monitoring, particularly if 1) the Rangers stay in the race and/or 2) other relievers start blowing games and Feliz turns out to be Washington’s most reliable arm in the pen.
The Yankees could afford to do what they did with Joba in 2007 because they won the Wild Card by six games. In the playoffs that year, the Joba Rules were supposedly lifted, although in part because of the spread out schedule, we never saw Joba in back-to-back nights.
Do you agree with what the Rangers are doing? Is Nolan Ryan being hypocritical at all here, or is it a different scenario? Let us know in the comments.

Video: Andrew Toles hammers grand slam in Cactus League win

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Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.

Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).

Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.

David Price’s season debut could be pushed back to May

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David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.

Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:

[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.

The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.