When the Rangers placed Neftali Feliz on the disabled list last week, they said his injury was minor. They said he’d be back within two weeks.
So far, it looks like they’re going to be right.
According to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, Feliz was cleared to begin a throwing program on Wednesday morning and played catch comfortably at a distance of 90 feet in the afternoon.
The 22-year-old closer is eligible to return to the Rangers’ bullpen on May 6 and the Texas training staff is confident that he will be ready to rock by then.
Feliz has a 1.08 ERA through eight relief appearances this season and has successfully converted his first five save opportunities. Darren Oliver and Arthur Rhodes have been handling the ninth inning in his absence.
The Royals are in agreement with right-handed reliever Drew Storen on a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the deal is worth $1.25 million if the veteran righty breaks camp with the club this spring. Additional, albeit unspecified incentives will be included in the contract as well.
Storen, 31, is coming off of a protracted absence from any MLB duties. After inking a one-year deal with the Reds in 2017, he sustained a right elbow sprain toward the end of the year and underwent Tommy John surgery that October. He was effectively decommissioned for the club’s entire 2018 run and generated little interest around the league this winter, perhaps due in part to the uninspired 4.45 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 7.9 SO/9, and career-low -0.2 fWAR he posted across 54 2/3 innings during his last healthy season.
While it’s not immediately clear what kind of performance the Royals can expect from Storen in spring training, they’re not exactly in a position to be choosy. Their bullpen ranked dead last among all MLB teams with a collective 5.04 ERA, 4.85 FIP, and -2.2 fWAR last year, and still appears to be in a state of flux as they approach Opening Day. Skipper Ned Yost told reporters Wednesday that he intends to eschew the traditional closer appointment in 2019 and will instead utilize a combination of right-handers Wily Peralta and Brad Boxberger, lefty Tim Hill, and various others as he tackles high-leverage situations in the future.