Neftali Feliz was recovered enough from Tommy John elbow surgery to make six appearances for the Rangers in September of last season, throwing 4.2 scoreless innings, but after watching him pitch this spring the team has decided to send the 25-year-old former Rookie of the Year back to the minors.
Feliz gave up 13 hits in 10 innings, but also had a decent 6/2 K/BB ratio and reports on his velocity were relatively positive while still being a few miles per hour off his pre-surgery peak. He lost the closer competition to Joakim Soria–although perhaps it was never really much of a competition–and will now have to work his way back to the majors following some time at Triple-A.
General manager Jon Daniels indicated that the Rangers don’t expect Feliz to spend a lot of time in the minors, telling Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram that they want him to continue building arm strength. He’ll be used as a reliever, though, so it’s a performance issue more than a pitch count issue.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network and FOX Sports reports that the Mariners have acquired starter Chris Heston from the Giants. The Giants will receive a player to be named later, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.
Heston, 28, logged only five innings in the majors this past season as he battled an oblique injury and otherwise spent most of his time with Triple-A Sacramento. Heston was solid out of the Giants’ rotation in 2015, posting a 3.95 ERA with a 141/64 K/BB ratio in 177 2/3 innings over 31 starts.
Heston will be under team control through 2021. He’ll provide depth for the Mariners’ rotation in the meantime.
Joe Nathan‘s agent, David Pepe, says his client wants to pitch in 2017, per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. “He’s like the Energizer Bunny,” Pepe said.
Nathan, 42, came back from Tommy John surgery in July, pitching two scoreless innings for the Cubs with four strikeouts and two walks. The Cubs released him and the Giants picked him up, and Nathan went on to pitch 4 1/3 scoreless innings down the stretch with five strikeouts and two walks.
According to FanGraphs, Nathan’s velocity wasn’t where it used to be, which is to be expected of a pitcher in his 40’s coming back from major elbow surgery. Still, with teams always on the hunt for bullpen depth, it would be shocking if Nathan didn’t get any bites before spring training starts.