* TRS has this note about Jose Julio Ruiz's contract situation:
The Rangers have to decide at the end of the season if they will exercise a three-year option on him.
* In what might be the most useful article Evan Grant has ever scripted about that most difficult and fleeting concepts (for him), "Neftali Feliz, the starting pitcher", he quotes players commenting on a cession of live BP:
David Murphy: "I think he still has some work to do on the changeup with his arm action. It was still slowing down a little. The slider wasn't the greatest slider I've ever seen, but it definitely had good movement and I didn't pick it up out of his hand."
Julio Borbon: "First, the fastball was, well, everybody knows how good it is, so I don't need to say anything there. He didn't throw me sliders, only changeups. They definitely had good downward bite. It's the kind of pitch that if you swing at, the best you are going to do is hit a chopper or roll over the ball for a ground ball out."
Mitch Moreland: "The changeup looked good. It had good action and he was on top of it to command it well."
To Grant's surprise, I guess, that changeup, has been Feliz's second pitch since he debuted with Texas in 2009, only a few months after switching to a split-finger grip at OKC (and broken out to devastating effect in that year's Futures Game). For whatever reason, Grant has been on one of his obsessive quests to prove that Feliz can't be a starter because he doesn't have any secs, or secs that he can command, or a good enough second pitch, or a good enough third pitch, or, well, you get the idea. Grant is always at his worst when trying to evaluate young prospects/players and his rants about Feliz for the last year are a case in point. At least you don't hear him peddling the "Alexi Ogando is more likely to be a starter" meme anymore (though it has been replaced by the "Kirkman is better than Holland" one). Anyways, that's quieted down quite a bit, this iron-clad, front office sourced nugget, hasn't it? Beat writers are often at risk of naively accepting overly positive org. spin on prospects, and players. In a strange twist, the opposite holds in this instance, and the dour assessment seems all Grant.
* Near as I can tell Andres Blanco didn't spend any time catching in the LVBP this off season.