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.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.