The Texas bullpen figured to be a strength this month, with Alexi Ogando, Koji Uehara, Mike Adams and closer Neftali Feliz available to pitch the final four innings of games. Starter-turned-middle reliever Scott Feldman wasn’t so much a part of that plan, but the former 17-game winner stepped up big on Monday, pitching 4 1/3 scoreless innings as the Rangers topped the Tigers 7-3 in 11 innings.
Feldman, who lost his rotation spot while going 7-11 with a 5.48 ERA in 2010, was limited to just 11 appearances this year after offseason knee surgery, and he was no shoo-in for the Rangers’ postseason roster until injuries began to strike the rest of the pitching staff. He made just three appearances in September, giving up seven runs in 10 innings. However, he’s now pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings with an 8/0 K/BB ratio this month.
Feldman’s big outing today came in relief of Derek Holland, who gave up three runs and four hits in 2 2/3 innings. It’s a long shot, but he’s put himself in a position to take over a rotation spot if Holland’s inconsistency gets him banished to the pen later in the ALCS or the World Series.
Adrian Beltre has been on the disabled list all year because of nagging right calf strain, but he’s about to take a big step toward getting back to action.
Beltre has been cleared to begin playing in extended spring training games. He’ll commence them tomorrow at the Rangers facility in Surprise, Arizona. After three games the team’s doctors will reevaluate him. If things go well, he’ll likely be sent off for a full minor league rehab assignment.
Joey Gallo has filled in for Beltre all season, bringing a lot of power but not much else to the table. While Beltre is 38, his all-around game would be welcomed back on the field and his leadership would be welcomed back in the Rangers clubhouse. On a personal note, Beltre is only 58 hits shy of 3,000 for his career.
Barring a setback, he’ll be back with the big club in early June and will hit the milestone eventually.
Outfielder Michael Bourn was traded by the Diamondbacks to the Orioles late last season and hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with them through the end of the season. While that’s not enough to outweigh the miserable season he had in Arizona, it was enough to get the O’s to give him a look in spring training with a minor league deal. They signed him to one in late February.
Then, a couple of days later, Bourn broke his finger while playing catch with a football. Unable to play, the O’s cut him. In early April, once Bourn healed, the O’s signed him again. He played 11 games for their Triple-A affiliate and went 9-for-41 with ten walks in 51 plate appearances. While that makes for a decent OBP, his lack of any sort of pop or good contact suggests that if someone throws him strikes, he can’t do much with the ball.
As such, the O’s had not called him up to Baltimore. And as a result of that, Bourn exercised his opt-out rights and became a free agent.
Someone may take a look at him given that his batting eye seems to be intact and given that, in an admittedly small sample size, he still performed last season. But if he does get a look, it’ll likely be back at the minor league level.