Feliz, rain no-hit Missions
RoughRiders' right-hander breezes through five innings
Neftali Feliz is again starting to resemble the pitcher the Texas Rangers thought they were getting when they dealt All-Star first baseman Mark Teixeira at last year's trade deadline.
The 20-year-old right-hander pitched five innings and Trey Hodges recorded one out in the sixth Tuesday as the Frisco RoughRiders no-hit the San Antonio Missions in a rain-shortened 7-0 victory at Wolff Stadium.
Feliz (3-2) walked two and struck out three, facing just one batter over the minimum. He trimmed his ERA to 3.06 and won for the third time in eight Texas League starts.
After Hodges struck out Colt Morton leading off the sixth, the game was delayed for 52 minutes before it was called.
RoughRiders pitching coach Terry Clark praised Feliz for rebounding from his last outing, when he surrendered five runs over three innings in a loss to Tulsa.
"He started off missing up in the zone," said Clark. "He commanded the fastball from the second inning on and his changeup was good tonight."
Feliz pitched in the Midwest League All-Star Game in June and went 6-3 with a 2.52 ERA in 17 starts for Class A Clinton. He entered Tuesday night with a 3.56 ERA over 30 1/3 innings in the Texas League. Last month, he recorded a 1 1/3-inning scoreless streak before getting roughed up by the Drillers his last time out.
Texas acquired the native of the Dominican Republic a year ago with catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, shortstop Elvis Andrus and left-handers Matt Harrison and Beau Jones for Teixeira and veteran lefty reliever Ron Mahay.
According to Clark, Feliz displayed the qualities he flashed upon his arrival in the Texas League.
"He looked like the guy we had seen for five or six starts in a row," the former Major League pitcher said. "He was off his last time out, but his fastball was at 95-98 mph tonight. He just needs to get his curveball [over] for strikes and stay on top of the ball."
If he continues to develop those secondary pitches, Clark said he thinks Feliz has what it takes to break into the big leagues.
"He wants to keep learning," Clark added. "He's got such a perfect body for a pitcher. He reminds me of a younger Edinson Volquez. I think he has what it takes mentally. He doesn't let things bother him and he's a down-to-earth kid. I could see him in the big leagues at some point next year."
Frisco scored four times in the opening frame as Hank Blalock hit a two-run double and Dustin Majewski slugged a two-run homer, his eighth. Steven Murphy and former first-round pick Julio Borbon added solo shots for the RoughRiders (35-22), who have a half-game lead on second-place Midland in the North Division.
Starter Manny Ayala (6-3) surrendered seven runs on nine hits while striking out two over five innings for San Antonio (27-29), which lost for the 11th time in 17 games this month.
Steve Conley is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.