Neftali Feliz’s conversion from the bullpen to the starting rotation was going quite well, but he’s hit his first speed bump and, unfortunately, it looks like a big one.
Feliz has been diagnosed with an ulnar collateral ligament sprain in his right elbow, and although he will not require surgery, it appears that we won’t see him again until after the All-Star break. The Rangers will shut him down for at least a month before re-evaluating his status. Even when he does return, general manager Jon Daniels acknowledged the possibility that Feliz’s role could change, which means, we assume, that it’s possible he could head back to the bullpen.
For now, the Rangers will go with Scott Feldman as Feliz’s replacement in the rotation, and while they’ll give him a shot to run with the job, they’re not committed to him long-term. Alexi Ogando has been lights-out in relief this season but isn’t stretched out to start. The Rangers could eventually choose to stretch him out, or they could bring in Roy Oswalt, something Daniels didn’t dismiss as a possibility. Oswalt is probably a month away from being MLB-ready, but he’s worked out for the Rangers and is an obvious fit.
Wells Not Well
Vernon Wells has been a punching bag for Angels fans this season due to his sizeable contract and lack of production. They’ll get their wish in seeing Wells on the bench for a while, but the reasoning for why he’ll be there is probably not what they hoped for.
Wells will need surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb and will be sidelined for at least 8-10 weeks. With Torii Hunter still away from the team, the Angels suddenly don’t have a lot of depth in the outfield. But, they’ll be just fine with Mike Trout in left field, Peter Bourjos in center and Mark Trumbo in right until Hunter returns, which could be in the next week or so.
Nats Likely Going to Closer Committee
Henry Rodriguez didn’t blow another save Monday, but probably only because he was removed from the game before being allowed to do so. It appears it was the final straw for Nationals manager Davey Johnson, as the veteran skipper sounds ready to make a change in the ninth inning.
"I'm going to sleep on it, but I'm looking at other alternatives," Johnson said after the game.
Johnson and the Nats have been hesitant to remove Tyler Clippard from his setup role, where he’s been dominant in recent seasons. But, he’s probably their best choice for the ninth inning and figures to get a shot at some saves before Drew Storen (elbow) returns around the All-Star break. Craig Stammen and Sean Burnett, who closed out Monday’s win after Rodriguez faltered, will be in the mix, as well. Rodriguez could also still be in the picture.
National League Quick Hits: An MRI Monday on Lance Berkman’s right knee has revealed a torn meniscus, not a torn ACL as originally feared. It’s still possible that a second exam will reveal ACL damage, but the Cardinals are now hopeful that he’ll only miss 6-8 weeks … Ryan Braun exited Monday’s game with right groin tightness. He also had a groin injury during spring training, but it’s not clear if this is a flare-up of that ailment … Miguel Montero had to leave Monday’s game with a mild groin strain and is being considered day-to-day … Jair Jurrjens was lit up again at Triple-A Gwinnett Monday and now has allowed 21 runs on 29 hits over 31 innings since being demoted. Mike Minor is really struggling, but Jurrjens clearly isn’t ready to replace him … Aroldis Chapman was arrested Monday after driving 93 mph on a suspended license. He seems unlikely to receive any real discipline … Daniel Hudson (shoulder) allowed two runs over five innings Monday in his first rehab start with Triple-A Reno. He should rejoin the Diamondbacks' rotation this weekend … Jeff Karstens (shoulder) threw three scoreless innings Monday in his first rehab outing with Double-A Altoona. He’ll need a couple more rehab starts before rejoining the Pirates rotation … Josh Bell was recalled Monday and is expected to receive the bulk of the starts at third base for the D’Backs. While he was mashing at Triple-A, his horrible previous showings in the majors don’t give us much confidence that he’ll be a real fantasy option this time around.
American League Quick Hits: Cody Ross will be sidelined 6-8 weeks with a fractured foot, while Ryan Sweeney (concussion) could also land on the DL. With these injuries, Will Middlebrooks will now remain on the Red Sox roster, and Adrian Gonzalez could start seeing more time in right field … Jeff Keppinger will be out 3-4 weeks with a broken toe. Sean Rodriguez, Elliot Johnson and Will Rhymes should all receive regular at-bats for the Rays … Felipe Paulino fired 6 2/3 shutout innings against the Yankees Monday. He boasts a 1.42 ERA over his first four starts this season after spending the first month on the DL with a strained forearm … Yoenis Cespedes (hand) hopes to be cleared to swing a bat sometime within the next week. He’s eligible to return from the DL Tuesday, but we’re unlikely to see him before June … Manny Banuelos has been placed on the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre DL with a sore left elbow. It’s not clear at this point how serious the ailment is for the top prospect … Jason Marquis is expected to be designated for assignment by the Twins after posting an 8.47 ERA through seven starts. He shouldn’t have any trouble landing a cheap deal somewhere.