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.

Tommy La Stella talks about his refusal to report to the minors in 2016

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In late July of 2016, Cubs infielder Tommy La Stella was demoted to Triple-A. It wasn’t personal. It was a roster crunch situation and La Stella had options left so, despite the fact that he had been an effective player to that point of the season, it made sense to send him down.

La Stella didn’t take the demotion well. In fact he refused to report to Iowa and went home to New Jersey instead. It was not until August 17 that he finally reported and then only after prolonged discussions with the Cubs and the assurance that he’d be back in the majors once rosters opened up. Which he was, after spending just over a week down on the farm.

Such a move by a player would, normally speaking, make him persona non-grata. His teammates would shun him and the organization would, eventually, cut bait, with the press characterizing him as a me-first player as he walked out the door. That did not happen with La Stella, however, who remains with the Cubs two years later and, by all accounts, is a popular and important guy in the Cubs’ clubhouse, even if he’s not one of the team’s big stars.

Today Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic has an in-depth story about La Stella, what went down in 2016 and how he and the Cubs have proceeded since then. The story is subscription only, but the short version is that there was a lot of understanding and empathy on the part of the Cubs organization and their players about what was going on in La Stella’s head at the time and how everyone allowed everyone else the space to work through it.

I’m happy to read this story, because all too often we only hear about such incidents as they occur, with little followup. To the extent the story is told, most of the time its completely one-sided, with the player who acts out being treated like a bad seed with little if any explanation of his side of things. And, yes, there are always two sides to the story. Sometimes even more.

Kudos to Rosenthal for telling this story. Here’s hoping the next time a player is involved in a controversy that, in the moment, makes him appear to be a bad seed or have a bad attitude, we hear more about it then too.