Neftali Feliz is expected to miss the remainder of the first half with a sprained elbow, so whenever Roy Oswalt is ready to join the Rangers there will be an open spot in the rotation waiting for him.
As for what happens when Oswalt is starting every fifth day and Feliz is ready to return … the Rangers haven’t thought that far ahead, according to manager Ron Washington.
Washington told T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com that “right now I don’t think any of us knows what will happen” with Feliz and the Rangers have told him to focus on simply getting healthy before any decisions are made regarding his role.
If everyone in the revamped rotation stays healthy and effective Feliz could always shift back to the bullpen, presumably as a setup man considering how fantastic Joe Nathan has been as the closer. And if Oswalt’s back problems reoccur or another starter goes down Feliz can build back his arm strength while rehabbing and resume starting.
For his part Feliz reiterated yesterday that he still views himself as a starter, but added: “I’m not worried about it … I’m just focused on getting healthy.”
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.