Two rather remarkable bombshells have just come down through the Twittersphere...
Really bad news first...Neftali Feliz, who was rehabbing from a strained UCL, has been diagnosed with a torn UCL and will undergo Tommy John surgery.
The interesting news, which isn't necessarily good or bad, but which is very surprising, is that Ryan Dempster will not be replacing Scott Feldman in the Rangers' rotation. Instead, he will be replacing Roy Oswalt, who is moving to the bullpen.
First, thoughts on Oswalt to the bullpen...yes, Oswalt has been shaky this season. He's had three bad starts and three good ones, and missed a start with back problems, then blamed his lack of command yesterday on the layoff. That being said, the Rangers paid him $5 million to pitch for a half-season, and did that because they didn't want to have to rely on Scott Feldman. They also did this, supposedly, with the understanding that Oswalt would have a spot in the rotation, and wouldn't be asked to pitch out of the bullpen. Now the Rangers, on the heels of acquiring Ryan Dempster, are opting to stick with Feldman instead of Oswalt, and are apparently willing to deal with the fallout of an unhappy Oswalt. It is also interesting that Nolan Ryan, supposedly the driving force behind acquiring Oswalt, is apparently on board with this deal, despite his long-time relationship with Oswalt.
Evan Grant tweeted that after Oswalt met with Mike Maddux, presumably so Maddux could break the news to him, he got on the phone and left the clubhouse. One has to wonder if Oswalt is going to seek his release at this point.
Second, on Feliz...very, very disappointing news, a devastating injury to one of the Rangers' best arms. Feliz was handed a rotation spot this spring, and showed some promise as a starter before going on the disabled list in May. While there was some concerns and questions about whether he'd be back in the rotation this year, the belief was that, at least, he might be able to contribute out of the bullpen in a fireman role, and be a weapon come playoff time. Instead, the worst case scenario that we all feared has come to pass, and Feliz is done not only for this season, but likely for most of 2013.