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.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.