OAKLAND -- Neftali Feliz passed a test on Monday when he closed out the Rangers' 4-2 victory for his sixth save of the season. Feliz also saved Sunday's 3-1 victory over the Mariners, and this marked the first time he saved back-to-back games as a closer.
Throwing eight pitches on Sunday made it conducive for Feliz to pitch back-to-back games. Pitch counts will go far in determining how often the Rangers will use Feliz. Manager Ron Washington called Monday's appearance a "convenient" situation.
"It worked out that he was able to pitch back-to-back games," Washington said. "We'll just wait and see how it plays out. He's a young kid, who is just learning how to do this. He's a kid still learning about himself."
Ramirez shows progress defensively
OAKLAND -- Max Ramirez is expected to be behind the plate on Wednesday when Colby Lewis pitches for the Rangers against the Athletics.
The question is whether this will be Ramirez's last start. On Friday, it will have been 10 days since the Rangers optioned catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to the Minor Leagues. That means he is eligible to be recalled to the Majors.
By all accounts, Saltalamacchia is ready to return, although the Rangers are non-committal on the possibility of that happening on Friday or anytime soon. He is pain-free in his upper back and shoulders, his throwing has been fine and he is swinging the bat well. He took a 10-game hitting streak into Tuesday's game. During that stretch he is 16-for-39 (.410) with three home runs and nine RBIs.
Ramirez, though, has played well in his short return to the big leagues. The biggest concern about him has been his ability to work with pitchers and call games. But the two starters that he's worked with since being called up were both highly complimentary of his work behind the plate.
Ramirez started last Thursday, with Scott Feldman on the mound, and again on Sunday with C.J. Wilson pitching.
"He was great," Wilson said. "I always felt Max had a good idea behind the plate. With me, he mixes his pitches well, with a good distribution of fastballs and breaking balls. I think Max got unfairly knocked for his defense, but he works well with me and communicates well with me."
Said Feldman, "He has really made an effort to learn to work with pitchers and get better at it. This was the first time I've worked with him since '08, and we were on the same page pretty good. As he's gotten older, and more experienced, he's become much better at calling pitches."
Cruz eyeing early next week for return
OAKLAND -- Texas outfielder Nelson Cruz is hoping to go to the Minor Leagues on a medical rehabilitation assignment on Monday and Tuesday, May 10 and 11, and be activated off the disabled list the following day.
Cruz has been sidelined with a strained right hamstring muscle since April 27 but went through another strenuous workout on Tuesday without any problems.
"It was better than yesterday," said Cruz, who is hitting .323 with seven home runs and 17 RBI, and is eager to get back in the lineup.
"It's been boring going through all the routine and all the rehab process," Cruz said. "Sitting on the bench and watching the game is not fun."
Kinsler shows his range at second base
OAKLAND -- When Texas second baseman Ian Kinsler came off the disabled list on Friday, after missing six weeks because of a sprained right ankle, he expressed some concerns about his range on defense. His range looked pretty good in the seventh inning on Monday night.
The A's Adam Rosales hit a sharp grounder toward the right-side hole, and Kinsler ranged far to his left to make a diving stop. He got up quickly and fired to first for the out.
"It builds confidence," Kinsler said. "It's all about learning your limitations and eventually getting back to the level of your natural ability. That play definitely gave me some confidence."
Manager had great view of no-hitter bid
OAKLAND -- Rangers right-hander Rich Harden had a no-hitter for 5 1/3 innings on Monday against the A's, and manager Ron Washington had to watch most of it from his office in the clubhouse.
Washington was ejected in the second inning for arguing with the umpires about a call at first base and didn't get to watch Harden's bid first-hand.
"No, but I still had a great seat, and he had good stuff," Washington said.
Washington was ejected after the umpires ruled that Harden failed to step on first base after fielding a high chopper off the bat of Eric Chavez. The original ruling was that Chavez was out, but the umpires changed it after conferring. Washington was ejected because crew chief Joe West told him managers couldn't argue a call after the umpires conferred.
Washington said he wasn't going to bring up the subject on Tuesday.
"Usually, if I'm totally wrong, I'll call [the umpires] and let them know," Washington said. "But I don't know if I was totally wrong on that one, so I'll just let it go. I call them when I'm wrong, but they don't call me when they're wrong."
Garland teacher is Honorary Bat Girl
OAKLAND -- Melanie Parsons, a teacher at Garland High School, has been selected as the Rangers' Honorary Bat Girl for Sunday's game against the Royals on Mothers Day. She is part of Major League Baseball's campaign to recognize inspirational fans which have been affected by breast cancer and demonstrated a commitment to the cause.
Parsons has been through three surgeries in her fight against breast cancer and hopes to complete radiation therapy in June. She plans to be at Sunday's Mother's Day game against Kansas City at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington with her mother, Sherry Murray, and her daughter, Carol Jane Hensleigh.
The Rangers have donated 500 tickets to the Susan G. Komen North Texas affiliate and 200 tickets to the Susan G. Komen Tarrant County affiliate for breast cancer survivors and their families to attend Sunday's game as part of the Commissioner's Community Initiative Program.
Hundreds of Major League Baseball players will use pink bats on Mother's Day. The bats are produced by Louisville Slugger, the Official Bat of Major League Baseball, and they will be stamped with the MLB breast cancer logo. Many players also will wear pink wristbands. The symbolic pink ribbon, promoting breast cancer awareness, will be displayed on player uniforms, as well as on all on-field personnel.
OAKLAND -- Manager Ron Washington on center fielder Julio Borbon's defense: "He's improved tremendously. We just want his offense to come back, so he can get on the basepaths and cause some havoc." ... Going into Tuesday's game, the Rangers have posted a 1.10 ERA in their last four games, lowering their season ERA to 3.43. That's the third best in the American League and the club's lowest after 26 games since a 2.91 ERA in 1993. ... The Rangers have also lowered their road ERA to 3.02, the second lowest in the league behind Tampa Bay (2.32).
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.