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.”
The Reds announced earlier that they plan to extend the protective netting at Great American Ball Park in time for Opening Day next season. You can add the Padres and Mariners to what will surely be a growing list.
A young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, which gave new life to the netting debate. Some fans and media types think Major League Baseball is not doing enough to protect fans. While Major League Baseball has issued guidelines for protective netting, it is ultimately up to the teams to decide just how much netting to use.
Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.
The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.
Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.