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.
An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.
As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.
While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.