Neftali Feliz has UCL sprain in elbow, shut down for four weeks

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UPDATE: According to Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said earlier this evening that Feliz has a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He won’t throw for four weeks, but he could be shut down for longer.

7:36 PM: The Rangers placed Neftali Feliz on the 15-day disabled list this afternoon with right elbow inflammation. While an MRI revealed no structural damage in the elbow, it will be a while before we see him back in the big leagues.

According to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com, Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine said this afternoon that Feliz will be shut down for a month. He’ll resume a throwing program after that, but assuming that he’ll likely need at least a couple minor league rehab starts, that places his return somewhere around the All-Star break. And that’s assuming no setbacks.

Feliz, who is making the transition from closer to starting pitcher, has a 3.16 ERA and 37/23 K/BB ratio over 42 2/3 innings this season. Scott Feldman will fill his spot in the starting rotation for now.

Rays stadium project dead, team stuck in Tropicana Field until 2027

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LAS VEGAS — Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg appeared at the Winter Meetings a few minutes ago and said that the project which was intended to result in a new ballpark for the team in Ybor City neighborhood of Tampa has fallen apart. No new ballpark will be built and the three-year window granted to the team by the City of St. Petersburg to negotiate for a new ballpark will come to a close without any deal. The Tampa Bay Rays appear to be stuck in Tropicana Field through 2027.

Sternberg’s statement came mere hours after it was reported that Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred sent a sternly-worded letter to Hillsborough County officials, blasting the framework for the deal for the new stadium in Ybor City, saying it lacked specifics and criticized “the actual level commitment” from the public side. It’s not unreasonable to read that as the Commissioner’s dissatisfaction with how much public money the County was pledging to complete the project. Sternberg said just now that “we were not close to a workable framework.”

In his comments this morning Sternberg noted that the Rays had worked “for ten years” to get a new stadium and that they’d continue to try to work to that end, but the team’s options are extremely limited. The Rays are party to what has been described as an iron-clad lease for Tropicana Field, lasting through 2027. Until three years ago the Rays were  prohibited from even talking to anyone about building a new ballpark outside of St. Petersburg. In December 2015 St. Pete granted the team a window to negotiate with Hillsborough County which Sternberg called “very generous.” It is now closing, however, and Sternberg said that there are no plans to ask St. Petersburg officials for a new one.

Which means that the Rays are likely stuck in Tropicana Field through 2027. While Sternberg talked of being creative and searching for any and all available options, he likewise said that “we need to figure out where the 2028 season will be played.”