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Neftali Feliz: Texas Rangers Pitcher to 15-Day DL with Elbow Injury

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Neftali Feliz: Texas Rangers Pitcher to 15-Day DL with Elbow Injury
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Rangers right-hander Neftali Feliz is headed to the 15-day DL with an elbow issue.

According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Jeff Wilson, Texas Rangers starting pitcher Neftali Feliz will be placed on the 15-day disabled list today with an elbow issue.

Feliz (3-1, 3.16 ERA) struggled with his command in his most recent appearance against the Houston Astros last Friday night. The 23-year-old threw 101 pitches, 51 of which were balls, while walking five and hitting a batter.

During spring training, Feliz was shut down temporarily with a shoulder issue, but was in fine shape to start the regular season. This is Feliz's first year as a member of the Rangers rotation after serving as the team's closer the previous two seasons.

Right-hander Yoshinori Tateyama has been recalled from Triple-A Round Rock, and Scott Feldman will take Feliz's spot in the rotation this Wednesday in Seattle—that's the short-term solution.  

However, one has to speculate on if the Texas Rangers might finally be in a position of need in regards to still-unsigned free-agent Roy Oswalt.

ESPN Dallas reported that Oswalt threw for the Texas Rangers a few days ago. As reported by CBS Sports' local affiliate in Dallas-Fort Worth, Oswalt has frequently mentioned that the Texas Rangers, as well as the St. Louis Cardinals, are on his short list for teams he'd like to pitch for this season.  

Texas Rangers GM Jon Daniels has repeatedly stated that the Rangers are not interested in Oswalt because there hasn't been any need for a pitcher that has made it clear he wants to be in the rotation and is unwilling to go to the bullpen (via ESPN Dallas).

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With Feliz's injury and the severity of it unknown, now might be the time for the Rangers to sign Oswalt. 

The team still has plenty of options in terms of starting pitching, but most options would leave their bullpen lacking depth. Feldman has been a successful starter in years past, winning 17 games in 2009, and seems like the most likely short-term replacement for Feliz.

During a spot-start last week against the Kansas City Royals, Feldman pitched 4.2 innings, surrendering just three hits and no earned runs, yet took the loss to fall to 0-1 on the season.

Alexi Ogando was rushed into the starting rotation last year out of spring training when Tommy Hunter was forced to the disabled list. Ogando was excellent in the first half of 2011, but seemingly ran out of gas after the All-Star break and was placed in the bullpen for the postseason. He has been there ever since.

Although Ogando might have the most upside of readily available potential starters, his departure from the bullpen would severely weaken what has been a team strength. Overall, as a starter last season, Ogando went 13-8 with a 3.51 ERA and 126 strikeouts.

Oswalt, who started his career with the Houston Astros and was one of the famed "four aces" with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2011, is 159-93 with a 3.21 ERA over his 11-year career.

 

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