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Feliz Coming Back as Successful Setup Man

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 22: Bengie Molina #11 and Neftali Feliz #30 of the Texas Rangers celebrate after defeating the New York Yankees 6-1 in Game Six of the ALCS to advance to the World Series during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 22, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Bengie Molina;Neftali Feliz

    Neftali Feliz provided plenty of great memories for Rangers fans.

    In 2010, he earned AL Rookie of the Year honors after saving a then-rookie record 40 games. He was on the mound, providing us with that lasting image of Alex Rodriguez watching a wicked hook cross the plate to clinch the Rangers' first pennant. Lots of great there.

    There were also bad times, most notably blowing a shot at getting the last out of the 2011 World Series in Game 6 when he was one strike away from beating the St. Louis Cardinals and bringing home a world title to Arlington.

    In 2015 — after a failed attempt as a starter and subsequent Tommy John surgery — Feliz opened the season as the Rangers' closer, but it didn't last long as he was overtaken by his setup man Shawn Tolleson.

    Now, look at the irony in that statement as Feliz returns to Arlington with his new team, the Pittsburgh Pirates, as one of the best setup men in baseball for Pirates closer Mark Melancon.

    In Feliz's last eight appearances, he's thrown six scoreless innings and allowed just two hits. That wicked fastball he once owned with the Rangers? Well, it's back after he tried so hard to rediscover it following Tommy John surgery.

    Meanwhile, Tolleson is struggling horribly and is surely on the brink of a demotion to Triple-A sooner rather than later, as he's sporting an ERA on the wrong side 10.00 and recently lost his closer's job to his elite setup man, Sam Dyson.

    Talk about a vicious circle.