Neftali Feliz has made it through long-toss sessions in each of the last two days after leaving Tuesday’s start against the Cubs due to shoulder stiffness, but the Rangers plan to be extra cautious before clearing him to pitch in a game again.
T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports that Feliz will not make his next scheduled start Monday against the Reds. The Rangers haven’t ruled him out for the start of the season, but it’s increasingly unlikely he’ll have enough time to be fully-stretched out. And there’s little reason to take any chances considering he’s making the transition to the starting rotation this spring.
Scott Feldman is now scheduled to make the start Monday and figures to be the stopgap option for the rotation if Feliz is forced to miss the first few weeks of the season. Alexi Ogando has returned to the bullpen, but he could be an option if Feliz’s shoulder issue ends up being more severe than originally believed.
All signs are pointing toward Chris Perez being available for Opening Day.
Perez, who has been sidelined since suffering a strained right oblique on April 24, threw 20 pitches Wednesday in a simulated game without incident and has now been cleared for game action. According to Jordan Bastian of MLB.com, the Indians’ closer will pitch in a minor league game tomorrow.
The goal appears to be to break him against lesser competition in a more casual environment before he makes his Cactus League debut. He should only need a handful of appearances to get ready for the start of the season.
Perez, 26, posted a 3.32 ERA and 39/26 K/BB ratio over 59 2/3 innings last season while saving 36 games in 40 chances. While it was a quality year on the surface, which included his first All-Star appearance, his strikeout rate dropped to an alarming 5.88 K/9 and he posted a 4.44 ERA during the second half.
We’re getting close to the end here, folks.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times passes along word that the field of bidders for the Dodgers was narrowed down to three earlier today. They are:
- The group led by hedge-fund billionaire Steven Cohen and philanthropist Patrick Soon-Shiong;
- The group led by Magic Johnson and veteran MLB and NBA executive Stan Kasten; and
- The group led by St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke.
The group led by Memphis Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley and Tony Ressler, a minority investor with the Brewers, was eliminated. So was a bid by Stanley Gold and the family of the late Roy Disney.
We could have a resolution here pretty quickly, as MLB owners are expected to vote on the three remaining bidders early next week. Outgoing owner Frank McCourt has agreed to identify the winning bidder by April 1. Overall bids are reportedly in the range of $1.3-1.6 billion, which would establish a new record sale price for an American sports franchise.