Neftali Feliz was on the Triple-A disabled list with arm soreness and inflammation as he struggled to come back from Tommy John elbow surgery, but now the former Rangers closer is healthy again and pitching well.
Feliz has thrown back-to-back scoreless appearances at Triple-A and has a 17/4 K/BB ratio in 16 innings overall. He’s had a couple ugly appearances that inflate his ERA to 4.02, but Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that his fastball is regularly being clocked at 92-96 miles per hour and suggests that he might already be back in the majors if not for the Rangers’ bullpen being crowded at the moment.
Prior to being shut down Feliz was one of the elite relievers in baseball, posting a 2.55 ERA and 164 strikeouts in 163 innings, and then he looked to be transitioning well into becoming a starter in 2012 before the injury struck. Velocity-wise it sounds like he’s still not quite back to his old self, but a Feliz throwing 92-96 miles per hour can certainly still be a big asset in the second half for Texas.
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Pedro Moura of The Athletic reports that Dodgers starter Alex Wood plans to pitch out of the stretch throughout the 2018 season. Wood got the idea when he watched Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg pitch against the Dodgers.
Wood, 27, finished last season 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA and a 151/38 K/BB ratio in 152 1/3 innings. That’s a mighty fine season, one in which many pitchers would not dare to mess with something that isn’t broken.
Interestingly, Wood indeed has had better results with runners on base — when he would pitch out of the stretch — as opposed to the bases being empty, with a respective OPS allowed of .523 versus .684, respectively. Over his career, he has allowed a .617 OPS with runners on and .706 with the bases empty.
In response to Moura’s tweet about Wood, retired pitchers Dan Haren and Jered Weaver took the opportunity to burn themselves. Haren tweeted, “I pitched a few seasons completely out of the stretch actually, just not by choice.” Weaver responded, “Sometimes I would just step off and throw the ball in the gap myself because I knew the hitter would do it anyways.”