Ron Washington sticks with Neftali Feliz as his closer

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Despite blowing the save on Monday and allowing two runs in the seventh inning last night, Rangers manager Ron Washington says he’s sticking with Neftali
Feliz as his closer
. When asked if that was the case, Washington said “Yes. What’s changed?”

I’d say that “what’s changed’ is that Feliz is having a lot of trouble maintaining his velocity and command pitching on a short turnaround suggesting that, just maybe, he’s more suited to starting. But hey, starting pitching prospects are a dime a dozen. Finding a decent relief pitcher is a once-in-a-lifetime thing.

Royals sign Michael Saunders to a minor-league deal

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Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday.

After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.

With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.