With Joe Nathan moving on to an undetermined-at-this-point team, the Texas Rangers are looking for a new closer, and they have plenty of internal options to assume the role.
One of the favorites is the guy that Nathan replaced prior to the 2012 season in former Rangers closer-turned starter-turned reliever Neftali Feliz. In case you've forgotten, Feliz was the 2010 AL Rookie of the Year as he amassed 40 saves, but then he became a starter in 2012 and had to undergo Tommy John surgery. He made it back to the bigs in September and pitched just more than four innings in spotless relief over the final month of the season.
Now, he's gearing up to possibly reclaim the closer's role in 2014 by pitching in the Dominican winter league, and so far, so good for Feliz.
The hard-throwing righty had a perfect inning of relief on Saturday night for Los Toros del Este with one strikeout. He's now worked two perfect innings in two outings with three strikeouts. Granted, it's not big-league action, but it is against mostly big-league hitters, and it's a big step in Feliz's rehab process heading into February, when pitchers and catchers report to Surprise, Ariz.
Feliz will likely be competing for the closer's role with former all-star closer Joakim Soria, who returned from Tommy John surgery himself last season in his first year with the Rangers.