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.
Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.
Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.
The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.