Out since mid-May with a sprained elbow, Neftali Feliz began a minor-league rehab assignment yesterday with two innings at Double-A.
Feliz showed some rust, walking two batters and needing 40 pitches to get through two frames, but also got four of his six outs via strikeouts and Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas reports that his fastball was clocked in the mid-90s.
Because the Rangers are committed to bringing him back as a starter Feliz will have to build up arm strength and increase his pitch count before potentially coming off the disabled list. He’s scheduled to pitch three innings Friday, so if the Rangers stick with that type of gradual workload progression he seems likely to make a total of at least 3-4 starts in the minors.
Pirates right-hander Joe Musgrove is done for the year after suffering an abdominal wall muscle strain and stress reaction in his pelvic bone. While he isn’t expected to undergo surgery or miss additional time in 2019, he’s been prescribed six weeks of rest before resuming any baseball-related activities.
Musgrove, 25, finished out his third year in Pittsburgh with a 6-9 record in 19 starts, backed by a 4.06 ERA, 1.8 BB/9, and 7.8 SO/9. Despite logging a career-high 115 1/3 innings at the major league level, he’s also been dogged by a string of injuries, from the shoulder strain that robbed him of eight weeks at the start of the season to an index finger infection that kept him sidelined for a minimum 10-day stay on the disabled list in June.
While he works his way back up to full strength yet again, rookie right-hander Nick Kingham is expected to cover for him and will make a spot start during the Pirates’ series finale against the Brewers on Sunday. The 26-year-old righty hasn’t started a single game for the team since August 1, and currently carries a 4.69 ERA, 2.7 BB/9, and 8.1 SO/9 over 71 innings out of the rotation and bullpen.