Feliz making his case for All-Star Game
Rangers' closer leading AL in saves entering Friday's action
HOUSTON -- Neftali Feliz, after three straight saves in Florida, was leafing through a packet of statistics in the Rangers' clubhouse on Friday afternoon. If he paused to check the American League leaders, he would have found his name in a prominent position.Feliz went into Friday's game with the Astros leading the AL with 18 saves. "I'm very happy with that right now," Feliz said. "I just want to continue to do the job and just save as many as I can." Manager Ron Washington, showing obvious bias, thinks Feliz's work is good enough to earn him a spot on the AL All-Star team. "He's got to be up there ... leading closers in closing down ballgames," Washington said. "They're taking other closers for closing down ballgames, so they've got to take him because he's closing down games for us." Saves are hardly the only criteria, though. Feliz has a 2.97 ERA. That's high compared to Detroit's Jose Valverde (12 saves, 0.64 ERA), Tampa Bay's Rafael Soriano (16 saves, 1.52 ERA), Oakland's Andrew Bailey (12 saves, 1.69 ERA) and the Yankees' Mariano Rivera (15 saves, 1.21 ERA). Among AL relievers, Feliz is eighth with a .183 opponents' batting average, 16th with 9.79 baserunners per nine innings and 13th with 10.09 strikeouts per nine innings. There will be 13 pitchers on the AL All-Star team. Five starters and three relievers will be selected by the players. AL manager Joe Girardi will choose the other five pitchers. "That's something people keep bringing up," Feliz said. "I'm not thinking about it. If it happens, I will be very happy that I'm going to the All-Star Game."
Holland, Harden won't be back soon
HOUSTON -- The back end of the Rangers' rotation is going through considerable turmoil right now. One thing that's becoming clear is Rich Harden and Derek Holland, both on the disabled list, will not be back anytime soon.Harden, on the DL with a strained gluteus muscle, was supposed to resume light throwing on Thursday, but that was delayed. Instead, Harden received an injection on Friday to relieve the pain and inflammation and will not resume throwing until early next week. Harden was placed on the DL on Sunday after going 3-3 with a 5.68 ERA in 13 starts. Even after he resumes throwing, Harden will likely need at least two rehab starts, and it's unlikely he'll be back before the All-Star break. The Rangers were hoping Holland would be back in time for a three-game series against the Angels from June 29-July 1. But that hope may have taken a hit on Friday. Holland, who has been throwing in Arizona, re-injured his right knee during fielding practice at the Rangers' complex in Surprise, Ariz. This is a similar injury to what he suffered at the beginning of Spring Training when he was sidelined for a couple weeks with a sprained knee. Holland, who was supposed to have a significant throwing session on Saturday, has been temporarily shut down. He will be examined on Saturday in Arizona by Keith Meister, who is the Rangers' team physician. The Rangers could have another starting option emerge in the next few weeks. Brandon McCarthy is expected to come off the disabled list at Triple-A Oklahoma City on Saturday.
Rangers need starters for next week
HOUSTON -- The more immediate question concerning the Rangers' rotation is who will pitch on Tuesday and Wednesday against the Pirates. Texas believes Tommy Hunter will be ready to pitch Tuesday, even though he left last Wednesday's start against the Marlins in the third inning with a strained right hip flexor.Hunter is close to 100 percent, according to manager Ron Washington. He still needs to test it by throwing off the mound in the bullpen, and that session is now scheduled for Saturday at Minute Maid Park. But the Rangers believe he should be fine. Wednesday's starter is less clear. Dustin Nippert filled that spot on Thursday against the Marlins but lasted just three innings. The Rangers could go with him again, they could bring left-hander Matt Harrison out of the bullpen or they could call up right-hander Guillermo Moscoso from Triple-A Oklahoma City. Doug Mathis is another possibility at Oklahoma City. Nippert is back in the bullpen for now. If he's not needed between now and Wednesday, he could end up getting the start. Washington admitted that he is reluctant to take Harrison out of the bullpen, even though he has made 32 Major League starts and just four relief appearances. Washington likes having a second left-hander in the bullpen to go with Darren Oliver. "Right now, I need the left-hander in the bullpen," Washington said. "I'm not saying I won't use Harrison [as a starter], but right now, he fills a great role and keeps us from over-using Darren Oliver."
Rangers sign 49th overall pick Olt
HOUSTON -- The Rangers have signed Mike Olt, the third baseman from the University of Connecticut who was the 49th overall pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. Olt, who agreed to a signing bonus of $717,300, has been assigned to Class A Spokane.Olt was the second of two picks given to the Rangers in the compensation phase of the first round. Olt, 21, batted .318 (84-264) with 23 home runs and 76 RBIs in 64 games for the Huskies in 2010. He currently stands as the school's all-time home run leader with 44 over three seasons and is also considered an outstanding defender. The Rangers also agreed to terms with their seventh-round pick, lefty pitcher Jimmy Reyes from Elon University, and their 23rd-round pick, righty hurler Andres Perez-Lobo from Christopher Columbus (Fla.) High School. Reyes will go to Spokane, with Perez-Lobo assigned to the Arizona League Rangers.
The Rangers are honoring Michael Young on July 10 prior to their game with the Orioles for breaking the club's all-time hits record on Wednesday night. ... The Rangers have told Neftali Feliz that he will not pitch Friday night. He pitched three games in a row in the sweep over the Marlins. Texas is also hoping to stay away from Alexi Ogando, but all other relievers are available.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.