CHICAGO (AP) — It's looking more and more like right-hander Neftali Feliz will be returning to the Texas Rangers sometime next month, just in time for the stretch run.
Rangers manager Ron Washington said before Friday's game against the White Sox in Chicago that Feliz still has several tests to pass, but is optimistic the hard-throwing hurler will be coming back.
Feliz has been undergoing an injury-rehabilitation assignment with the Rangers' Triple-A team in Round Rock, Texas. He's made four appearances thus far and is pitching in the 89 to 93 mph range.
"I think it will be awhile before you see 96, 97 (mph)," Washington said. "It might not be until the middle of next year. I've never had that injury, but I've got to figure that each time you throw a baseball it's in your consciousness."
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said earlier this week that he expects Feliz, who has not pitched in the big leagues since the middle of last season following Tommy John surgery and several setbacks since, will throw out of the bullpen if and when he returns.
Washington says his ballclub can use the help.
"Of course, if he can throw strikes with it," Washington said. "And I'm not talking about right down the middle of the plate either. If his secondary stuff is good, yes."
As for the return of right-handed pitcher Alexi Ogando, who was put on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with nerve inflammation in his right shoulder, Washington also remains optimistic he'll return next month.
"He's supposed to, I think, throw a bullpen here pretty soon," Washington said. "I don't know exactly when, but on this road trip."
Given that this is the third time on the DL for Ogando this season, Washington said the team will be careful and not try to rush him back too fast.
"(The Rangers have a plan but) we're not ready to expose it," Washington said. "Right now, our concern is just getting him healthy. What's going to happen when he gets healthy? You all will find out when that happens, but it's nothing we're ready to discuss."
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.