07/15/12 9:29 PM ET
Ogando, Uehara near activation from DL
By T.R. Sullivan and Christian Corona / MLB.com
Rainout pushes back Feliz's first rehab start
ROUND ROCK, Texas -- Neftali Feliz will make his first rehab start with Double-A Frisco on Monday and will return to Triple-A Round Rock on Friday for his second rehab start.Feliz was scheduled to begin his rehab assignment in Round Rock's series finale against Memphis on Sunday night but the game was rained out. He played catch before Saturday's game but did not pitch at all Sunday. Feliz, who has been on the DL since May 21 with right elbow inflammation, will throw two innings Monday for Frisco and three innings Friday in Round Rock. "I was ready to throw today but you never know what can happen," Feliz said. "I feel good. It doesn't matter where I throw, if I throw in Frisco or I throw in Triple-A." Round Rock pitching coach Terry Clark said Saturday that Feliz will likely make four Minor League starts before returning to the Rangers, meaning he may not be activated until early August. Clark said Feliz would probably throw four or five innings in his third rehab start and six innings in his fourth. When he takes the mound against San Antonio on Monday, it will be his first time pitching in a game since May 18 against the Astros. "I'm happy to face hitters again. I haven't done that in about two months," Feliz said. "I'm just going to try to throw strikes tomorrow and keep the ball down." Feliz said he threw at about "85 percent" in his last bullpen, which was Monday at the Rangers' facility in the Dominican Republic. He also threw batting practice Saturday at around "97-98 percent." A decision has not been made yet on whether Feliz, who is in his first season as a full-time starter, will rejoin the Rangers rotation or return to the bullpen. He is being prepared to come back as a starter in his rehab assignment and has expressed a desire to return to the rotation multiple times. "Mentally, I'm preparing to come back as a starter and help the team as a starter," Feliz said. "I'm trying to get my arm healthy so I can help the team win." Feliz went 3-1 with a 3.16 ERA in eight games, including seven starts, with 37 strikeouts and 23 walks in 42 2/3 innings before getting hurt. He is one of five Rangers pitchers currently on the DL, although Colby Lewis (forearm tightness) will be activated in time to start Wednesday against the A's while Koji Uehara (strained lat) and Alexi Ogando (strained groin) are expected to be activated Tuesday. "I'm happy that everybody is coming back," Feliz said. "Ogando's supposed to join the team tomorrow. I'm happy for Uehara, too. We're all trying to help the team win."
Rangers expect Napoli back on Tuesday
SEATTLE -- The Rangers are hoping Mike Napoli will be ready to return to the lineup on Tuesday against the Athletics because they are not expecting Yorvit Torrealba to be there. Torrealba is expected to miss the two-game series in Oakland while his wife gives birth.Torrealba would be placed on paternity leave, which would allow the Rangers to keep Luis Martinez on the roster for a few more days. Martinez was called up on Saturday because the Rangers wanted an extra catcher while Napoli was dealing with a bruise just above his right knee. Napoli was injured during Friday's game against the Mariners and was out of the lineup for the second straight game. But he did report significant improvement on Sunday and the Rangers are off Monday before opening a two-game series with the Athletics on Tuesday. "It's definitely feeling better," Napoli said. "It's still a little stiff but it feels more like a bruise. I'll keep getting the same treatment and hopefully it will be ready Tuesday." Martinez was acquired in the offseason from the Padres for pitcher Ryan Kelly. He appeared in 23 games for the Padres last year and was hitting .262 with two home runs and 17 RBIs in 50 games for Triple-A Round Rock. The Rangers also saw him in big league camp this spring. "He's a good defensive catcher," manager Ron Washington said. "He can throw and move the ball around with his bat. He did a good job."
Hamilton looking to get back on track
SEATTLE -- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton admitted the All-Star Game wore him down a little bit."Yeah, as usual," Hamilton said. "You love to be there, it's exciting to be there, the game itself is a lot of fun. But all the media stuff wears you out." Reds manager Dusty Baker said last week he noticed that players in the All-Star Game start off the second half slow. That seems to be the case with Hamilton. He is 1-for-7 with five strikeouts in the first two games since the All-Star break and was at designated hitter Sunday. "I've been struggling for the last month ... no excuses," Hamilton said. "Honestly I feel really good at the plate. Even before the All-Star Game and at the All-Star Game I had good at-bats, hitting the ball hard and hitting it right at people." But he was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts against Felix Hernandez on Saturday. "Last night I was the victim of trying to hit it too far instead of making contact," Hamilton said. "Sometimes it flip-flops like that and you fight it."
Kirkman enjoys watching replay on cellphone
SEATTLE -- Michael Kirkman was able to make good use of his MLB At-Bat app on his cellphone. He was able to watch the replay of his terrific defensive play from Saturday night.Kirkman, in relief of Yu Darvish, was pitching with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh inning. He got Kyle Seager to hit a ground ball back to the mound but was off-balance and out of position to field it properly. So he reached behind his back with his glove hand, knocked the ball down and threw from his knees to home for a force out. "I just remember trying to stop the ball any way possible and I got lucky enough to do it," Kirkman said. "Fortunately the ball landed in front of me and I was able to make a play."
Nelson thriving at Triple-A Round Rock
ROUND ROCK, Texas -- Triple-A Round Rock is struggling offensively. Veteran first baseman Brad Nelson is trying not to let it affect him.Nelson hit two home runs for Round Rock on Saturday night in a 5-3 loss to Memphis. He is hitting .279 with 13 home runs and 51 RBIs for the Express. He was drafted in the fourth round by the Brewers in 2001, eventually making his Major League debut for Milwaukee in 2008. His last big league action came in 2009. Nelson spent a year and a half with Seattle's Triple-A team in Tacoma before signing with the Rangers before each of the last two seasons. "This is a great place to play," Nelson, 29, said. "The organization is one of the best organizations, if not the best organization, out there. There's a baseball family running things. They know how to treat you and your family. As a veteran player, you can't ask for anything more." Nelson helped the Nashville Sounds, a team in the Brewers farm system, win a PCL championship in his first year at the Triple-A level. In his first year with Round Rock, Nelson batted .281 with 24 home runs and 83 RBIs as the Express won a division title with a record of 87-57.
Craig Gentry started in center field on Sunday afternoon with right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma on the mound for the Mariners. Leonys Martin started two straight games with an opposing right-hander pitching but is hitless in his last 16 at-bats. Felix Hernandez shut out the Rangers on Saturday while allowing three hits, no walks and 12 strikeouts. The only two other pitchers to blank the Rangers with three-or-less hits, no walks and 12-plus strikeouts were Roger Clemens on Sept. 7, 1997, and Erik Bedard on July 7, 2007. Rangers manager Ron Washington on Yoshinori Tateyama, who was sent to Triple-A Round Rock on Saturday with an 11.37 ERA: "He just doesn't have anything to eliminate left-handed hitters and left-handed hitters in this league can hit the ball out of the ballpark. He has to figure out a way to get left-handers because he can get right-handers."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. Christian Corona is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.