Feliz has sprained elbow ligament, out until possibly All-Star break

Posted Monday, May. 21, 2012  comments  Print Reprints

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SEATTLE -- The hope is that a serious elbow injury to Neftali Feliz was avoided Monday when the Texas Rangers put the right-hander on the disabled list at the first word of tenderness in his elbow.

But they won't have the right-hander in their rotation possibly until the All-Star break after he was diagnosed with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament.

Feliz will not throw for a month and possibly six weeks, said general manager Jon Daniels, before beginning a throwing program to rebuild his arm strength and continue his first season as a starter after two years as the closer.

The Rangers recalled righty Yoshinori Tateyama from Triple A Round Rock to complete their first roster move of the season. Scott Feldman will start Wednesday in place of Feliz, and is the leading candidate to hold down the spot until Feliz is deemed healthy.

The Rangers, though, will also consider free agent Roy Oswalt, with whom they had a brief courtship during the off-season.

"Whatever is best for the club going forward, whether that's internal or external. Everything is on the table," Daniels said.

"He [Oswalt] is not ready to go. I don't know an exact timetable. He has not thrown to hitters. It would take some time. He's not an immediate option. We're going to consider all our options, and he's got to be one of them considering he's still out there unsigned."

The Rangers dispatched scouts to Mississippi on Friday to watch Oswalt throw, an exercise Daniels called "due diligence." At the time, they were unaware that Feliz had an elbow issue.

He initially felt the discomfort May 13 against Los Angeles, but believed it was normal soreness a starter feels during the course of a season.

He lasted only 42/3 innings in his last start, Friday at Houston. Feliz struggled with his command, throwing 51 of his 101 pitches out of the strike zone.

Afterward, he said that he was never able to get comfortable, but did not blame any physical issues for his lack of performance. He walked five and hit another batter, but allowed only one run on three hits.

He reported his elbow pain Saturday, and flew Sunday from Houston to Arlington for an MRI exam with Dr. Keith Meister on Monday morning. Meister believes that medication and rest will put Feliz on the road to recovery without needing ligament-replacement surgery.

"That's my hope," Daniels said. "Keith's one of the best. If he feels like rest and medication can help him, that's obviously encouraging to hear. You hate to see guys miss any time, but it beats the alternative."

Feldman and Oswalt appear to be the Rangers' top alternatives to fill Feliz's rotation spot. Righty Alexi Ogando is an option, but he hasn't pitched more than two innings since spring training and would need extra time to recover his arm strength.

"There's definitely an attractive side of it, putting him in the rotation," Daniels said. "But you've got to be realistic. He's not ready to do it sitting here today."

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST

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