Neftali Feliz cleared for first start after simulated game

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Neftali Feliz is scheduled to start the Rangers’ fifth game of the season on Tuesday after dealing with spring training shoulder soreness, but in the meantime he threw six innings in a simulated game today.

Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas reports that Feliz faced teammates Craig Gentry and Alberto Gonzalez, among other hitters, and had a big crowd watching him that included manager Ron Washington and pitching coach Mike Maddux.

He threw a total of 102 pitches, so despite missing some time in camp to deal with the shoulder soreness Feliz is fully stretched out for his transition from the bullpen to the rotation. His first test will come against the Mariners, so it’s a favorable matchup.

Report: Nationals to interview Alex Cora for managerial position

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Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Nationals will ask to speak with Astros’ bench coach Alex Cora after the American League Championship Series concludes on Saturday. This comes on the heels of the news that club manager Dusty Baker will not be returning to the team in 2018.

Cora, 42, has some experience in the Nationals’ organization. He played for the Nats during his last big league stint in 2011, batting .224/.287/.276 through 91 games before announcing his retirement in the spring of 2012. Per Cafardo, he was also offered a player development gig with the club, but has not appeared in any kind of official role with them since his days as a major league infielder. While he’s been lauded for his leadership skills and strong clubhouse presence, he hasn’t acquired any managerial experience since his retirement, save for a handful of games with the Astros where he filled in for A.J. Hinch.

Despite the appeal of having a familiar face in the dugout, the Nationals aren’t the only ones eyeing Cora. The Astros’ coach has already interviewed with the Tigers, Mets and Red Sox this month. Boston appears to be the current favorite to land him and according to at least one source, may even announce his hiring in advance of the World Series next Tuesday.