Inbox: Will there be any 'Neftali Rules?'

Inbox: Will there be any 'Neftali Rules?'

With Neftali Feliz being called up, do you see the Rangers having "Neftali Rules" similar to what the Yankees did with Joba Chamberlain a few years ago (limited pitch count, rest in between bullpen appearances)?
-- J.R. P., Dallas

The "Joba Rules" were dictated by the Yankees front office. Rangers general manager Jon Daniels has not laid any such edict on manager Ron Washington. But Washington has made it clear he will be careful using Feliz and refrained from using him Saturday when the youngster had thrown 28 pitches the night before.

Can you tell us a little more of the circumstances that led to the Rangers' decision to designate Vicente Padilla for assignment and what effect it has [good or bad] on the Rangers pitching staff for the rest of the season?
-- Marla H., Arlington

In my opinion, the Rangers really needed two strong months from Padilla to make the playoffs. Make no mistake about it, this is a loss for the Rangers from a baseball sense. Maybe Dustin Nippert will prove otherwise, though. But the Rangers simply grew tired of Padilla and felt he was a negative force on the club. There may be reason to believe that but it's still a big loss for the Rangers.

What is the latest on Matt Purke? Do you see a deal getting done with him despite the Rangers current financial situation?
-- Macie P., Burleson, Texas

Daniels said that will be a priority this week but it's likely not to get done until right up to the Aug. 17 deadline. Theoretically, that money is already budgeted and the Rangers did spend aggressively in July in Latin America. Owner Tom Hicks has made it clear that financially it's "business as usual" with the Rangers. There is still a sizable gap between what Purke wants and what the Rangers are offering, but the Rangers have yet to not sign a top Draft pick with Hicks as owner.

I'm tired of seeing C.J. Wilson close games. Myself and a lot of other Rangers fans want to know why C.J. is allowed to continue to close when he continues to put men on base almost every game?
-- David T., Kirbyville, Texas

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Frank Francisco is the closer again and Wilson is back in the setup role. But if anybody thinks that Wilson hasn't been a huge part of the Rangers' success, they're just dead wrong. The bullpen has been a big strength and Washington calls him the most valuable player down there.

Working under the assumption that the Rangers make the playoffs, what are the chances Michael Young could be the AL MVP?
-- Grant G., Lubbock, Texas

MVP awards are often won in September. Young should get consideration but right now Mark Teixeira, Justin Morneau, Evan Longoria and Joe Mauer are the leading candidates.

Since the Rangers were not able to acquire any pitching via trades, I was wondering about the condition of Ben Sheets and if there is still the possibility that he could be ready by September?
-- Rodney L., Elkhart, Ind.

There is no possibility at all. The Rangers have had no contact with him. Even if they signed him today, he would need at least a month in the Minors to build up arm strength and innings. Sheets will not pitch for the Rangers this year.

Which catcher has caught more of the winning games this season?
-- Jan C., Fort Worth

The Rangers are 45-34 when Jarrod Saltalamacchia starts and 17-14 when Taylor Teagarden starts.

Do you think that a portion of Josh Hamilton's struggles is due to the fact that there is not a big enough bat protecting him in the lineup?
-- Ty C. Lubbock, Texas

It certainly didn't bother Albert Pujols. Hamilton simply needs to be more disciplined at the plate, put less pressure on himself to succeed and stay away from injury. That hasn't helped.

Am I the only one who sees an ace in Scott Feldman? He showed what he had last year and is doing it again this year.
-- Dallas P., Dallas

He does win but probably doesn't go deep enough into games or strike out enough batters to be considered an "ace." At least not yet. But do not put limits on Feldman. He is still getting measurably better as he progresses as a starter.

Some fans want Elvis Andrus to lead off and I certainly disagree with that, but what about Young? He would still hit behind Elvis except in the first inning and you could put David Murphy at No. 2 and Ian Kinsler at No. 5.
-- Jim S., Cypress, Texas

Young, through his career, has always hit better in the No. 2 hole. He is .314 with an .874 OPS (on-base plus slugging) batting second as opposed to a .295 average with a .777 OPS at leadoff. My opinion? Kinsler needs a higher on-base percentage as a leadoff hitter, but he did the job well last year and I'd rather bank on him returning to that level than shake up the lineup at this point.

It seems to me that a lot of the Rangers' runs come via the home run and less as a result of manufacturing runs. I like the power and I know it's a good problem to have, but do you think they can rely on that for very long?
-- John S., Kerrville, Texas

No. Not in big games in September and not in the playoffs. Not against the big-time pitchers they will ultimately face. Remember the playoff games from 1996 and '98-99.

It seems that rarely does a Rangers game show up anymore on my27, which is frustrating seeing as how I don't have access to FSN Southwest. Can you explain why games just don't seem to be broadcast on my27 anymore?
-- Sonny T. Bedford, Texas

That is determined by FOX, not the Rangers. They decided they wanted 25 games on my27 and the rest on cable. Most of the my27 games were shown early in the season.

Do you foresee any possibility of the Rangers moving Kevin Millwood in the offseason? He is a big salary that could open up some payroll space and he's an aging player on a team trying to go younger. It seems like the right time for a move.
-- Daniel M., Amarillo

Definitely disagree. Young pitchers are fabulous, but don't discount the need to have a reliable veteran presence in the rotation.

Why, when the first baseman catches the last out of an inning and heads for the dugout, does someone from the dugout toss him a ball before he tosses the game ball into the stands?
-- Bob B. Bryan, Texas

So he has a baseball ready when his team is done hitting and he goes back out to the field to warm up the other infielders.

Is it just me or does it seem like every time a pitcher gets a same-day notice for a spot start, they end up performing really well? (examples: Dustin Nippert, Tommy Hunter) Does anyone keep stats on this around the league?
-- Rob S., Allen, Texas

Yes, Scott Boras. He told Daniels once that he had statistics to show that Ron Villone was the greatest "sixth starter" in baseball history.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.