Neftali Feliz replaces Frank Francisco as Rangers closer … for now

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Early on in spring training the Rangers were deciding whether to use Neftali Feliz as a starter or a reliever, but suddenly the 22-year-old phenom has been thrust into the closer role following two blown saves from Frank Francisco.
Ron Washington made it clear that the switch is intended to be short term, saying: “We need to give him some time to get things together. Frankie will be the closer for the Texas Rangers.”
Francisco began last year by converting 11-of-11 save chances in 17.2 scoreless innings, but since then he has a 7.22 ERA in 33.2 innings while blowing six saves in 20 chances. Between arm problems and extreme fly-ball tendencies Francisco is hardly reliable even if he reclaims the gig and if Feliz ends up staying in the bullpen long term he’s destined for ninth-inning duties eventually anyway.
In other words, don’t presume they’ll switch back.

Red Sox to activate Dustin Pedroia from disabled list on Friday

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Manager Alex Cora said that second baseman Dustin Pedroia will be activated from the disabled list on Friday, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports.

Pedroia, 34, had cartilage restoration surgery on his left knee in late October. He played in only 105 games last season, batting .293/.369/.392 with seven home runs and 62 RBI in 463 plate appearances. His offensive stats were his worst since an abnormally-bad 2014 campaign.

The 34-15 Red Sox have baseball’s best record. Eduardo Nunez has mostly been handling second base in Pedroia’s place, hitting a disappointing .243/.261/.361 in 177 trips to the plate. He has also, by most metrics, played subpar defense at the position, so getting Pedroia back will be a boon.