OAKLAND -- Rangers pitchers Neftali Feliz and Tommy Hunter, both on the disabled list, are headed to Double-A Frisco on Wednesday to pitch on medical rehab assignments. Both threw in the bullpen on Monday without problem, and they are both ready to face hitters in a real game.Feliz, who has been dealing with inflammation in his right shoulder, did his throwing in Oakland before the Rangers' game against the Athletics. He threw 46 pitches, gave the session a thumbs-up afterward and is down for one inning on Wednesday. If that goes well, he will be activated on Friday when Texas returns home to face the Yankees. "He's ready to get out of here," manager Ron Washington said. "He'll throw an inning on Wednesday, and if that goes well, we'll activate him Friday when he's [eligible] to come off." Hunter, who is sidelined because of a strained groin muscle, did his throwing in extended spring camp. He is down for three to four innings on Wednesday, but that is just a beginning. Hunter will likely need two to three more starts before he is an option at the Major League level, and he still needs more pitchers fielding practice (PFP) to make sure the injury is completely healed. Washington said the Rangers want to make sure Hunter gets his pitch count up so he can be ready to step into the rotation if needed. "We don't have [starting pitching] depth down there, so we need to make sure he is stretched out," Washington said about Hunter. "If he has to go into the rotation, we don't want any concerns about his pitch count. If he has to go to the bullpen, he'll go to the bullpen. We haven't made that decision yet."
Torrealba his own harshest critic
OAKLAND -- Rangers catchers are leading their position in hitting with a .287 average, the highest in the American League.Yorvit Torrealba isn't interested in it. "What about calling a game?" Torrealba said Monday morning. "In calling a game, I stink." Rangers pitchers have a 5.22 ERA in their past 15 games. That bothers Torrealba -- despite the fact he is 9-for-21 with four RBIs in his past six games, raising his average to .291. That's the third-best average among catchers in the AL. "I guess it's good, but it doesn't make me happy," Torrealba said. "I just want to call a good game. Calling a shutout, that would make me happy. That would definitely make me happy." The Rangers' struggles on the mound might have something to do with the pitchers, but Torrealba doesn't see it that way. "You see the results, I take all the blame," Torrealba said. "We're not executing the pitches when we need to. What do you want me to say?" How do you fix it? "That's a good question," Torrealba said. "That's a really good question. How to fix it? Watch tapes, make adjustments, talk to the pitchers and get it straight. Find a way to get it straight. We need to. "I'm not trying to be hard on myself, but I know my role. Obviously, I don't throw the ball, but I know [catchers] can help the pitching staff. We've got a lot of talent and we've got guys with some experience. We need to put it together. The first two weeks we were doing good, but we lost it a little."
Napoli rising above batting average
OAKLAND -- Rangers catcher Mike Napoli is making the case that batting average really doesn't matter.Napoli, who was not in the lineup on Monday, entered the day hitting .245. That was 76th best among American League players with at least 50 plate appearances. But Napoli's .673 slugging percentage ranked third best entering Monday, and his on-base percentage of .403 was eighth in the league. Add them together and his OPS is 1.077, fourth best in the AL for players with 50 plate appearances. "It's kind of weird," Napoli said. "Some days I get in there and feel really good, and some days I feel off. But for the most part, I'm giving a tough at-bat while trying to adjust to my role." Napoli is 12-for-49 at the plate, and nine of those hits have gone for extra bases, with three doubles and six home runs. His past seven hits have been for extra bases. He also has 13 walks, which is tied for second most on the team -- even though he has appeared in just 18 of 28 games. Napoli has one walk for every 4.77 plate appearances, the second-best ratio in the AL, and he sees 4.52 pitches per plate appearance, fourth best in the league. "I've always kind of seen a lot of pitches," Napoli said. "Last year, I got away from that and realized it. But even in the Minor Leagues, I had a lot of walks. I think I have a better plan now rather than going up there and wasting an at-bat without a plan."
Rangers give Kinsler rare day off
OAKLAND -- Second baseman Ian Kinsler was out of the lineup on Monday for only the second time this season. His other day off came in Detroit on April 12, but that was only for an inning. He had to take over as designated hitter when Josh Hamilton got injured sliding into home plate.Kinsler has started 23 games at second base and four at designated hitter. "I just think he needs a day off, period," manager Ron Washington said. "It will help him mentally and physically." Kinsler is hitting .231 on the season, but does have six hits in his past 20 at-bats. He is tied for 10th in the league in runs scored (17) and walks (16). "I'm fine," Kinsler said. "More hits would be nice, but there's nothing I can say about it. It's part of the season. I'll continue to play hard and things will change. "I'm swinging at some balls. Yesterday, I had a good at-bat against [Athletics closer Brian] Fuentes, and then I chased a ball up. I need a little more discipline. You go through ups and downs, and right now I'm a little more down than I like. Hopefully this is it for me."
Cuban outfielder Martin ready to get started
OAKLAND -- Cuban outfielder Leonys Martin has arrived in Surprise, Ariz., to begin working out in extended spring camp with the Rangers.Martin is a Cuban defector who has agreed to a contract worth approximately $15 million with the Rangers. Announcement of the deal has been held up due to immigration and cultural procedures. Martin was a reserve on the Cuban team that competed in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. He is considered a strong defensive player and a potential leadoff hitter with speed. Martin hit .326 in his final year in Cuba's highest league. He will likely begin his professional career at Double-A Frisco.
Adrian Beltre got his first start at designated hitter on Monday. Taylor Teagarden got his first start at catcher. Pitcher Alexi Ogando was named the Rangers Player of the Month for April after going 3-0 with a 2.30 ERA in his first five starts. Beltre leads the Rangers with 22 RBIs, while Michael Young has 20. The Rangers are one of five Major League teams with two players who have 20 or more RBIs.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.