Out since mid-May with a sprained elbow, Neftali Feliz began a minor-league rehab assignment yesterday with two innings at Double-A.
Feliz showed some rust, walking two batters and needing 40 pitches to get through two frames, but also got four of his six outs via strikeouts and Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas reports that his fastball was clocked in the mid-90s.
Because the Rangers are committed to bringing him back as a starter Feliz will have to build up arm strength and increase his pitch count before potentially coming off the disabled list. He’s scheduled to pitch three innings Friday, so if the Rangers stick with that type of gradual workload progression he seems likely to make a total of at least 3-4 starts in the minors.
The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.
After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.
Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.