Neftali Feliz struggles in first Triple-A rehab outing

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Neftali Feliz’s recovery from Tommy John elbow surgery has moved to Triple-A, where the Rangers right-hander struggled yesterday in his first rehab appearance for Round Rock.

Feliz threw just 11 of 22 pitches for strikes, walking two and allowing a single before exiting with the bases loaded.

Todd Willis of ESPN Dallas reports that Feliz “struggled to command his pitches” and “his changeup also didn’t appear to be sharp.” However, his fastball was clocked at 92-93 miles per hour and that’s close enough to his pre-surgery velocity to be encouraged this early in the rehab process.

Texas has already mapped out his next four appearances between now and a week from Saturday, so Feliz won’t be rushed back to the majors.

Royals sign Clay Buchholz to minor league deal

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Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Royals have signed pitcher Clay Buchholz to a minor league deal. Buchholz will earn a $1.5 million salary if he makes the club’s major league roster and can earn an additional $250,000 through incentives. Buchholz has an opt-out date set for May 1, which means if he isn’t on the Royals’ 25-man roster by then, he can request his release.

Buchholz, 33, was acquired by the Phillies from the Red Sox in December 2016, but he made only two starts before an MRI revealed he had a partial tear of his right flexor pronator mass. He underwent surgery in April and missed the rest of the season.

The Royals recently lost Jesse Hahn, who was diagnosed with a sprained right UCL. Buchholz would likely be in consideration for a rotation spot if another starter were to suffer an injury. Presently, the Royals’ rotation appears set with Danny Duffy, Ian Kennedy, Jason Hammel, Jake Junis, and Nate Karns.