HOUSTON -- There is life for a reliever immediately after returning from Tommy John surgery. Rangers right-hander Joakim Soria is paving the way for Neftali Feliz.
Soria underwent Tommy John surgery on April 2, 2012, and was activated off the disabled list on July 7 of this year. Since then he has made 11 appearances and not allowed a run in nine of them. His last three appearances have been scoreless, dropping his ERA to 3.48, and opponents are hitting .189 off him.
"I feel good," Soria said. "Coming back from surgery, some days are not that good, some days I feel good. It's part of the process, but overall I feel good."
Feliz underwent Tommy John surgery on Aug. 1, 2012, and has made three rehab appearances. He was scratched from Saturday's outing because of some triceps inflammation, but the Rangers said it was only a precautionary measure. The Rangers are still hoping to get Feliz back by Sept. 1, and if he comes back as effective as Soria, he'll add another late-inning option for the Rangers.
"Everybody is different, but he's a really strong guy," Soria said. "In Arizona he was really working out hard. Looking at the way he is working hard, I think he'll make it and be the pitcher he once was."
Feliz, when he was healthy, threw 97-100 miles per hour. Soria was never a hard thrower when he was a two-time All-Star closer for the Royals, but he knows how to pitch. That has helped him get through some games when he wasn't physically at his best.
"What he has is craftiness and knowledge," manager Ron Washington said. "The more he gets the ball, the better he'll get. Feliz doesn't have the experience and knowledge Soria has. I don't know until I see Neftali if he is trusting his arm. I see Soria trusting his. We'll just see what Neftali has to offer when he comes back."
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.