Back when Neftali Feliz went on the disabled list with an elbow injury in mid-May the Rangers had so much rotation depth that there was speculation he’d return as a reliever.
Since then Feliz has been joined on the DL by Colby Lewis, Derek Holland, and Alexi Ogando–and Roy Oswalt has been knocked around–so not surprisingly Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star Telegram reports that Feliz “will be stretched out as a starter” again.
That likely means a longer minor-league rehab assignment, as Feliz will have to build back his arm strength instead of simply being ready for one-inning appearances. So far he’s progressed to throwing bullpen sessions and Davison indicates that Lewis may still beat Feliz back from the DL.
Ogando may also beat Feliz back from injury, but Ogando is being prepped as a reliever again after initially being asked to step into the injury wrecked rotation.
Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw is nearing his return to the mound, according to club manager Dave Roberts. Both Kershaw (left biceps tendinitis) and fellow lefty Rich Hill (left middle finger blister) are scheduled to toss simulated games on Saturday; depending on the outcome, Roberts says Kershaw could forgo a minor league assignment and slot back into the rotation by Thursday.
Kershaw, 30, was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis as the team closed out their Mexico Series at the start of the month. He has not made a start in several weeks, but was finally able to resume throwing on Sunday and managed to get through two successful bullpen sessions. Though Dodgers’ ace hasn’t been completely injury-free over his 11-year career in the majors, this is the first significant issue he’s had with his pitching arm so far. The team is expected to take every precaution with the lefty, and will likely limit him to just four innings during Saturday’s simulated game.
Prior to his injury, Kershaw was working on another dominant run with the club, sporting a 2.86 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 through his first 44 innings of the season. While Kershaw, Hill and left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu served their respective terms on the disabled list this month, the Dodgers utilized a combination of relievers Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart, both of whom impressed during their limited time in the rotation.