7/4/2014 10:33 P.M. ET
After long journey, Feliz back in the bigs
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Former All-Star closer Neftali Feliz is back in the Major Leagues.
Feliz was called up on Friday, with Ben Rowen optioned back to Triple-A Round Rock. Manager Ron Washington said that the Rangers needed a fresh arm in the bullpen, and Feliz was the best available at Triple-A.
The Rangers went to Feliz right away on Friday, as he took over in the sixth inning for Yu Darvish. Feliz pitched two scoreless innings, with two walks and two strikeouts. He left with the score tied at 4.
Feliz will likely be used in middle relief and occasionally as a setup man until he returns to his form of 2010 and 2011. He is not here to replace Joakim Soria.
"As long as Joakim Soria is available, he is the closer," Washington said. "Unequivocably."
"I'm ready when they need me -- ninth, seventh, eighth," Feliz said. "Wherever they want me."
Feliz was the Rangers' closer in 2010 and 2011 before undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2012, and he has spent the past two seasons trying to come back from the procedure. The Rangers were hoping he could reclaim his old job during Spring Training, but his velocity was down and his mechanics were off.
Feliz was optioned to Round Rock and has spent the past three months trying to work his way up to the Majors. In the Minors he went 1-1 with a 3.14 ERA and seven saves in 24 games. In 28 2/3 innings he allowed 19 hits and eight walks, and struck out 31.
"I did a lot of work on my mechanics," Feliz said. "I wasn't frustrated. That was not my job to get frustrated. My job was to get better. I just kept working hard every day."
Feliz did not allow a run in his last eight outings at Round Rock, but the Rangers still aren't ready to pronounce him 100 percent.
"He can still get in trouble before he gets after it," Washington said. "We want him to get after it right when he walks out of the bullpen."
Rowen had a 4.15 ERA in eight appearances and had pitched in four of the past five games.
"There were times when he was efficient, but this didn't have anything to do with being efficient or inefficient," Washington said. "We needed a fresh arm, and [Rowen] was the guy who had pitched the most."
Rangers bus their way from Baltimore to NYC
NEW YORK -- With bad weather up and down the East Coast and the Rangers needing to get from Baltimore to New York, traveling secretary Chris Lyngos called an audible on Thursday night.
Concerned about flight delays at New York-area airports, Lyngos put the Rangers on two buses. It turned out to be a great move, with airport delays running three to four hours. The Rangers left Baltimore at around 12:15 a.m. local time and were at their Manhattan hotel by 4 a.m.
"The airports weren't looking good, so I started doing my homework and inquired about buses out of Baltimore," Lyngos said. "As [Thursday's] game progressed, I pulled the trigger."
The Rangers had plenty of food and drink on the bus, as well as Wi-Fi and electrical outlets that allowed them to watch movies on their various devices.
"It was fine considering the circumstances -- nothing we couldn't handle," third baseman Adrian Beltre said.
"It was no different than flying," catcher Chris Gimenez said. "I don't think anybody thought it was that bad, other than being early in the morning."
Yu Darvish, who was scratched from Thursday's start because of the weather, took a late train to New York, trying to arrive in plenty of time to rest up for Friday's start, though he ended up beating the team by no more than 20 minutes.
Robertson happily sheds plastic mask
NEW YORK -- Outfielder Daniel Robertson was in the lineup on Friday night, without a clear plastic mask for the first time since his collision with Alex Rios on May 22 in Detroit.
Robertson sustained three small fractures in his left cheek and had been playing with the mask since. But Friday marked six weeks from the collision, and he no longer needs it.
"I didn't feel it at all, but it was tough at night," Robertson said. "The lights would light the mask up, and everything was reflected. I didn't like that. Plus I sweated pretty good underneath it."
So now he can either discard the mask or keep it as a souvenir.
"I am going to throw it in the Hudson River," he said. "It's going to float to the bottom. Then, in 200 years, somebody will find it and think they have discovered a special magical mask with secret powers like in that movie 'The Mask.'"
• Nick Tepesch was in the bullpen on Friday night just in case the Rangers needed a long reliever. If he is not needed, he will start on Sunday. Colby Lewis is scheduled for Saturday.
• Changes in the rotation mean that Nick Martinez won't pitch in New York. His next start is scheduled for Monday, in Arlington, against the Astros. Martinez played for Fordham University in the Bronx and was expecting plenty of friends in the stands on Sunday, when he was originally scheduled to pitch.
• Joey Gallo hit a home run for Double-A Frisco on Thursday and is the first player in baseball to reach 30 for the season.
• Outfielder Lewis Brinson, the Rangers' first pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, has been promoted from Class A Hickory to Myrtle Beach. Outfielder Ryan Strausborger has been promoted from Double-A Frisco to Triple-A Round Rock. Outfielder Chris Grayson and infielder Hanser Alberto are going from Myrtle Beach to Frisco.
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.