Over the past few years, going back to the Texas Rangers' breakthrough season in 2010, the team has enjoyed the luxury of having a reliable, lockdown bullpen to clean up games in the late innings.
This season, the Rangers haven't had that luxury and have already blown four leads in the eighth inning or later this year. The guy who was supposed to be their closer this year, Neftali Feliz, started the year in Round Rock and is currently on the disabled list with "general soreness and fatigue."
Assistant general manager Thad Levine told reporters earlier this week that Feliz could return to the Rangers by the end of May, but no sooner. Levine said Feliz needs at least 10-14 days before he's ready to return to the mound, which would put his DL stint at right about a month in length.
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The good news for Feliz was that before he hit the DL, he had seen his velocity climb back up into the upper 90s. The bad news? He never pitched on consecutive days in Round Rock, and would have to prove he can do that with effectiveness before the Rangers would consider promoting their former all-star closer and AL Rookie of the Year.