Neftali Feliz has spent all season at Triple-A due to struggles coming back from Tommy John elbow surgery, but the Rangers feel he’s ready for the majors and called up the once-dominant closer.
Feliz racked up 31 strikeouts in 28 innings at Triple-A, but he also walked eight batters and served up six homers on the way to a 3.14 ERA. That includes eight consecutive scoreless outings in which Feliz held opponents to a .071 batting average and nine strikeouts compared to one walk.
Odds are Feliz will probably be eased into the bullpen mix with some low-leverage work initially, but he could find himself in a late-inning role eventually.
The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.
Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.
Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.