Closer Feliz pushes for rookie mark, award

Closer Feliz pushes for rookie mark, award

ARLINGTON -- Neftali Feliz was back in uniform on Wednesday, one day after missing Tuesday's game because his wife Karina gave birth to daughter Nerali Lucia. Feliz said mother and daughter are doing well.

Feliz's return put the two leading candidates for American League Rookie of the Year in uniform at the Ballpark in Arlington on Wednesday. The award is likely going to come down to Feliz and Tigers outfielder Austin Jackson.

"I will just put up my numbers," Feliz said. "That's not my decision, it's up to whoever has the responsibility. I'll put up my numbers and let somebody else decide."

Feliz went into Wednesday's game with 36 saves, one short of the record for most by a rookie. Kazuhiro Sasaki, who had spent 10 years pitching in Japan's professional league before coming to the United States, set the record with 37 saves for the Mariners in 2000.

Feliz is also 3-3 with a 3.05 ERA and opponents are hitting .185 off him, but the numbers aren't that relevant. It all comes down whether voters choose a reliever or a position player.

Jackson went into Wednesday's game hitting .302 with 94 runs scored, 31 doubles, 10 triples, three home runs, 32 RBIs and 22 stolen bases for the Tigers.

"That would be something very big for me," Feliz said. "I'm just trying to help my team win games. I didn't even dream about it but if I win I'd be very happy."