"Yo MDS, I'm rooting for the American Dream, Arthur "Crusty" Rhodes."
Neftali Feliz was placed on the 15-day DL with shoulder inflammation/tightness (rotator cuff). He'll be a spectator for the next two weeks. Word has it he'll be ready to return when he is eligible, but that's what they say every time someone is put on the Disabled List. Don't listen to the coach speak, go grab Neftali's replacement immediately. The Rangers new closer is... Arthur Rhodes, Darren Oliver, Darren O'Day, Pedro Strop and John Wetteland. Damn these bullpens by communism! More after the jump.
Setting up Neftali in Save situations
April 15th @NYY no one (Harrison went 8 IP)
April 11th @DET Darren Oliver (8th Inning)
April 10th @BAL Darren O'Day (2 outs in 8th), Darren Oliver (7th Inning)
April 5th vs SEA Darren Oliver (5 outs in 7th/8th), Mark Lowe (1 out in 7th)
April 4th vs SEA Arthur Rhodes (8th Inning), Darren O'Day (7th Inning)
Darren Oliver is the favorite if you buy into the 8th Inning theory. Darren O'Day is the favorite of some. Arthur Rhodes is listed as the Closer at MLBDepthCharts. Charlie Saponara picked up Pedro Strop before I added Oliver/Rhodes in Blog Wars (The PUA grabbed O'Day after we grabbed our choices). And we definitely cannot count out the ghost of John Wetteland. Ron Washington sees retired people when he's plowing snow.
Darren Oliver 8.1 IP, 4 K, 0.48 WHIP, 2.16 ERA, 0 walks
Arthur Rhodes 6 IP, 5 K, 1.17 WHIP, 3.00 ERA, has trouble with RHB
Darren O'Day 6.1 IP, 4 K, 1.58 WHIP, 2.84 ERA, 4 walks (all vs RHB)
Pedro Strop 5.1 IP, 7 K, 1.50 WHIP, 1.69 ERA, 6 walks, little MLB exp.
Cody Eppley called up from AAA. Expect 8-9 K/9, BB/9 above 4
Mark Lowe working on mechanics in AAA
How can we guess what Ronny will do when he bats Nelson Cruz 5th or 6th in the Rangers lineup? The guy is whacked out of his mind. I went on a shopping spree and added Darren Oliver and Arthur Rhodes where ever I could find room. I wouldn't be surprised to see O'Day steal saves from me. That's right, I feel entitled to those saves so I'm semi-confident with my roster moves. Darren Oliver is my official pick if I had to choose just one; his numbers are bueno, he hasn't struggled against RHB since 2004 and he's set up Neftali more than anyone else in save situations.
*Update* Darren Oliver picked up the save on Saturday [IP, K] and Arthur Rhodes picked up the one-out save on Sunday after Brett Tomko was pulled in the ninth. Things are going well for my prediction. Our resident physical therapist Don Brown chimes in on Neftali's injury prognosis:
Time for the resident PT to chime in on Feliz and Contreras. I will preface this by saying that this analysis is based on the information available, which in both cases is minimal.
[Editor's Note] You can read Don's take on Jose Contreras here
Feliz has "shoulder inflammation", never good for a pitcher. Not much has been released as far as specific muscles, but if his shoulder is inflamed it's probably involves the rotator cuff. My guess here is that the process of stretching him out in the spring, followed by the workload and stress change going back to closing, irritated his arm. Relievers can often have just as much risk for injury as starters, it's not necessarily all about innings.
Starters don't tend to throw with max effort all game, saving arm strength for multiple innings. Relievers, closers in particular, tend to max out on every pitch, which also brings the max potential for injury. Feliz likely wasn't throwing full bore during the spring, instead stretching his arm out for starting. Then with the transition to closing again his arm may not have been ready for the different rigors of closing.
Prediction Feliz should return when his DL time is up or shortly thereafter, I'm not overly worried about him yet (think Mat Latos). His bullpens upon gaining clearance to throw will be critical to monitor.