ARLINGTON -- Nefatli Feliz is coming up on his one-year anniversary of undergoing Tommy John elbow-reconstruction surgery. He will celebrate the moment by pitching in his first game since May 18, 2012.
Feliz, who underwent surgery on Aug. 1, 2012, is scheduled to pitch an inning for the Arizona Rookie League Rangers on Friday. He has been doing his rehabilitation work at the Rangers' facility in Surprise, Ariz., and threw live batting practice without problem Tuesday.
Feliz was the Rangers closer in 2010-11 before moving to the rotation last season. He made seven starts before developing the elbow problems that led to the surgery. The Rangers' immediate plan is to use Feliz in a relief role if he is able to pitch again this season. It's likely that he won't return until September at the earliest.
The Rangers will have three other pitchers working on rehab assignment this week. Matt Harrison (back surgery) is expected to pitch two innings on Wednesday for Double-A Frisco. He'll start for them again Sunday at Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco. Colby Lewis (elbow surgery) will start for Frisco on Saturday.
Michael Kirkman, who has been sidelined since June 7 while undergoing treatment for skin cancer, is scheduled to pitch five innings for Triple-A Round Rock on Friday.
Berkman battling to return amid trying season
ARLINGTON -- Lance Berkman said he needs to make a decision soon on whether he can get back on the field for the Rangers or if he needs to head back home to Houston. The prospects aren't good for his return, although he is still trying to come back.
He tried to run Tuesday and said it didn't go well. He did take batting practice in the cages and will try again on Wednesday.
"I'm literally taking it one day at a time," Berkman said before Tuesday's game with the Angels. "I'm going to hit today and see if it feels good tomorrow. I feel like these guys invested in me, and I'd like to give them some return on their investment."
Berkman is on the disabled list with inflammation in his left hip but is also dealing with a chronic sore right knee that underwent two operations last year. Berkman went on the disabled list hitting .254 with six home runs, 34 RBIs and a .377 slugging percentage. He entered the season with a career slugging percentage of .544.
"Running is the main thing but the mechanics of my swing are not in a good place because of the knee," Berkman said. "I've not been able to put myself in a position to hit the ball with authority. I'm trying to figure out a way to generate bat speed and power. If I can't do that, it limits my effectiveness."
That's why he's considering the possibility that it's time to walk away from the game.
"You've got to fish or cut bait," Berkman said. "It's getting to that point quickly. You don't want it to linger. It comes to a point where you have to make a decision and say yeah or nay. ... I need to be headed out on a rehab assignment soon or strongly headed toward being on the field or headed back home to Houston.
"It's not a good place to be. I've got to figure something out for the team and myself."
Berkman, 37, signed a one-year contract for $11 million with the Rangers on Jan. 5. The contract also has a club option for $12 million in 2014.
"I think it's a balancing act," Berkman said. "I think every player comes to this point at some point in their career, to where you're just mentally, like you still feel like you did when you were 25, but it's hard to believe that physically you're not that same person. And the more time you spend away from the game, like being on the DL, you're like, 'oh, that's easy, I can do that, I remember when I could do that,' ... your brain tells you yeah, but then when you actually go out there and try to do it, it's a different story.
"I have got to come to grips with what my true physical capabilities are at this point and then make a decision based on that, and not based on an unrealistic expectation of performance."
Pierzynski makes back-to-back starts at DH
ARLINGTON -- A.J. Pierzynski has been in the lineup for 12 straight games since the All-Star break. That's unheard of for a catcher, but Pierzynski has been splitting that time by also serving as the designated hitter.
Pierzynski was in the Rangers' lineup on Tuesday night as the designated hitter for the second straight game. It was also the fifth time Pierzynski has been used at DH in the past nine games.
"I'd rather catch but I understand why I'm DHing," Pierzynski said. "I know why and get it. I look at it as I'm in the lineup. It's fine. I'm still in there with the opportunity to contribute. It's a way to give you a break and still contribute."
Rangers manager Ron Washington has been using Geovany Soto to catch Yu Darvish and Matt Garza. Derek Holland was on the mound for the Rangers on Tuesday but was facing left-hander C.J. Wilson for the Angels. Washington said he wanted Soto's right-handed bat in the lineup.
"I wanted as many right-handed bats in there as I could," Washington said. "If I'm going to play Soto, he's going to catch. He's more productive when he catches."
Washington gives slumping Moreland night off
ARLINGTON -- First baseman Mitch Moreland was out of the lineup Tuesday with left-hander C.J. Wilson on the mound for the Angels. Moreland is also in an 0-for-23 slump and has just two hits in 39 at-bats since the All-Star break.
"It's been strange," manager Ron Washington said. "We know he's capable of giving more. It's obvious he's not doing what he does best and that's use the opposite field. He's got to get back to that. When he's using the opposite field he's productive. He's got to get back to that."
Moreland, a left-handed batter, was one of the Rangers' hottest hitters before going on the disabled list June 6 with a strained right hamstring. Prior to the injury, he went through a stretch of 37 games where he hit .331 with nine home runs, 22 RBIs and a .654 slugging percentage. He has played in 33 games since coming off the disabled list and is hitting .152 with two home runs, 11 RBIs and a .232 slugging percentage.
"It's been like any other time I've gone through a slump," Moreland said. "I'm just going up there and battling and trying to get a good pitch to hit. It could change in one pitch. You just keep going up there, keep your head down and battle through it. Everybody wants to have good results. But if you don't, you keep your head down and keep working."
• Although the Rangers continue to search for offensive help before Wednesday's 3 p.m. CT Trade Deadline, general manager Jon Daniels said Tuesday afternoon, "I'm not expecting much to come to pass before the deadline. We'll see."
• Monday marked only the second time in club history the Rangers have won a game by hitting a game-tying and a game-winning home run in the ninth inning. The other was Sept. 20, 1985, when Bobby Jones and Ellis Valentine hit back-to-back home runs to beat the Mariners.
• Soto was the first Rangers catcher to hit a walk-off home run since Rod Barajas on May 22, 2004, against Tom Gordon of the Yankees.
• Class A Myrtle Beach right-hander Luke Jackson was named the Carolina League Pitcher of the Week. He is 9-4 with a 2.41 ERA in 19 starts this season.
• Outfielder Jario Beras of the Arizona Rookie League Rangers has a broken bone in his left hand and will be sidelined six to eight weeks.
• Outfielder Lewis Brinson, who was the Rangers No. 1 Draft pick in 2012, has been placed on the disabled list at Class A Hickory. Brinson was hit on the head by a pitch Monday night.
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.