Neftali Feliz is a name that had been discussed as a possible bullpen reinforcement piece with Tanner Scheppers headed to the disabled list.
But the Rangers opted to go with lefty Aaron Poreda over Feliz, the former All-Star closer at Triple A Round Rock.
“We feel like [Feliz] is close, but kind of like we talked in spring training … we really want to make sure he’s ready,” general manager Jon Daniels said.
Feliz had a disappointing spring training, compiling a 4.50 ERA over nine appearances and never showed the velocity he had this past winter. He went from the front-runner to win the closer’s job after touching 97 mph in winter ball to simply fighting for a bullpen job to being back in the minor leagues.
Feliz, who had Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery in August 2012, is regaining his form at Triple A, posting a 1.59 ERA over five appearances. The Rangers would still like to see the 25-year-old become more consistent with his velocity from outing to outing.
“It’s about his recovery,” manager Ron Washington said. “Once we can get to that consistency, which we will, then I think Neffy will play a big part in our bullpen.”
In the meantime, Poreda provides the Rangers another left-handed option out of the bullpen. Pedro Figueroa has pitched in three of the past four games, and Neal Cotts has been down for the past two games for an undisclosed reason.
Poreda last pitched in the big leagues in 2009 with stints with the Chicago White Sox and San Diego Padres. He had scoreless outings in four of his five appearances at Triple A Round Rock this season.
“This is definitely a second opportunity and I’m going to make the best of that opportunity,” Poreda said.