The Rangers got a bit of a scare Sunday morning.
Neftali Feliz, who is trying to prove that he is ready for a spot in the starting rotation, took a Craig Gentry line drive off his lower left shin while throwing a live round of batting practice.
The 22-year-old crumbled to the ground, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, and remained there for several minutes while trainers checked on his leg. He eventually got up and walked to a cart on his own.
The Rangers gave him an X-ray that showed no breaks and early indications point to Feliz being just fine.
“I hope it’s not serious,” Texas manager Ron Washington said soon after Feliz left the field. “Pitchers get hit in the shin all the time. When I ran out there, he was laying on the ground, but by the time I got out there, he started to get up.”
Feliz posted a 2.73 ERA, 71/18 K/BB ratio and tallied 40 saves in 43 chances last season in a spectacular rookie campaign. The Rangers are thinking he might be able to become a starter this season and are grooming him as such in camp this spring. He should be over this shin bruise in a couple of days.
The Cubs’ defense — or lack thereof this year — has been a topic of conversation as it could help explain why the team hasn’t played at the elite level it played at last year.
Manager Joe Maddon tried to go into detail about that but ended up channeling his inner Rex Ryan. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney.
If, in the future, Joe Ross ever complains about a lack of run support, point to his first four starts of the 2017 season.
Ross started on April 19 in Atlanta against the Braves, on April 25 in Colorado against the Rockies, on April 30 at home against the Mets, and on May 23 at home against the Mariners. In those games, the Nats’ offense scored 14, 15, 23, and 10 runs respectively for a total of 62 runs, or an average of 15.5 per start. Ross was the pitcher of record for seven, eight, 10, and 10 runs for a total of 35 runs (8.75 runs per start), which would still make him the major league leader in run support by that restrictive standard.
Among qualified starters — Ross did not qualify — entering Tuesday’s action, the Rockies’ Antonio Senzatela led the way according to ESPN, averaging 7.11 runs of support in nine starts. The Rockies scored double-digit runs in only three of those starts, oddly enough.
Per the Nationals, the 62 runs of support for Ross is a major league record in a pitcher’s first four starts of a season.