Tag:ALexi Ogando
Posted on: May 9, 2011 10:28 am
Edited on: May 9, 2011 11:27 am
 

Pepper: Greinke's new home, Phillies, more




By Matt Snyder


ADJUSTMENT PERIOD OVER: Carl Crawford just needed a little patience. After a catastrophic beginning to his career in Boston, the speedy left fielder is swinging a hot bat in May. For the month, he's hitting .387 with two doubles and a triple. He's been hitting eighth in the batting order and manager Terry Francona had said that the Red Sox big offseason signing would move back up toward the top of the order when he started hitting. So does the current run suffice? Not quite yet.

“If you move one guy, somebody else goes, too,” Francona said (Boston Herald ). “I think there will be a time when it seems to me that it works for everybody that I would like to do that. He’s swinging the bat better, which is good. But it also has to work with everybody else, too.”

The Red Sox currently have Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis in the 1-2-3 spots. There really doesn't seem to be anything wrong with that set up, so Francona has a point. Or maybe insert Crawford at the two-hole and knock everyone back a slot? There's probably no wrong answer.

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT: Alexi Ogando is suffering through a blister on his pitching hand (the index finger), which was the reason he missed Sunday's scheduled start. Fortunately he pitches for the Rangers, because team president Nolan Ryan dealt with the same issue back when he was a youngster for the Mets. Ryan's been helping Ogando use some remedies that helped him, such as shaving the blister so it dries out and rubbing pickle juice on it. While we're here, just to stave off the crowd of athlete-haters, a blister isn't a pain issue for pitchers. It's a matter of affecting command. (Star-Telegram.com )

FIVES ARE WILD: Apropos of absolutely nothing at all, every single American League game Sunday ended with one team having scored five runs. It was the first time a league had every game with one team scoring the same run total since August 10, 1993 when it happened in the NL. It doesn't mean anything, obviously, but it's a quasi-interesting little anomaly. (Hardball Talk )

FIRST IMPRESSION: Phenom Julio Teheran debuted Saturday for the Braves against the Phillies -- in Philadelphia, no less, which isn't exactly an easy place for opposing pitchers -- He only made it through 4 2/3 innings, giving up four hits, three earned runs and two walks while only striking out one. Still, it wasn't an awful debut. The kid is 20. Braves' skipper Fredi Gonzalez made sure to let Teheran he was pleased with the effort. "I wanted to make sure he told him that he did good and that he was impressive and that we liked the way he handled himself," Gonzalez said. "We told him that last night. But we wanted to make sure they told him again." (MLB.com )

LONEY WAKING UP: Judging from what I've seen on Twitter and message boards, James Loney is the most-maligned person affiliated with the Dodgers not named McCourt. It's easy to see why, as he's flashed the power of a sub-par middle infielder while playing a traditional power position for the past several years. But he is starting to swing the bat better. He's hitting .382 in his past 11 games, helping his season batting average to rise 56 points. (LA Times ) Then again, he hasn't had a single extra-base hit in that span. Don't expect the chirping to stop any time soon.

AUSTIN, TOO: It's been a rough 2011 for Tigers second-year center fielder Austin Jackson. He entered the weekend hitting .190 with a .258 OBP and 43 strikeouts in 121 at-bats. Don't count out the 24 year old just yet, though, because he showed signs of life in a three-game series at Toronto. He went 7-13 for a double, home run, two RBI and two runs, raising his average 34 points. "He is gradually coming back," manager Jim Leyland said. "When he puts it in play, he gets hits. When he put the ball in play last year he had a fantastic batting average." (Detroit Free Press )

NO SALE: Chris Sale, a 22-year-old flamethrower for the White Sox, burst onto the scene last season and looked dominant. He threw only 23 1/3 innings, but struck out 32 hitters en route to posting a 1.93 ERA. This year, he's only thrown 11 1/3 innings, but has allowed the exact same number of hits (15), more earned runs (nine, compared to five last year) and more home runs (three, compared to two last year). His ERA is a grotesque 7.15. His fastball velocity is down, which could be part of the problem, but Sale isn't buying that. “My main focus is not about lighting up the radar gun,’’ he said. "Everybody in this league can hit 98. That’s no secret. It’s a ­matter of where the pitch is, not how hard it is. I’m just trying to get back into a rhythm and figure out what’s the reason behind what’s going on." Everyone in the league can hit 98? Brandon Webb begs to differ. And someone get Greg Maddux on the phone ... though Maddux would most certainly agree with Sale's general point, which is that there's more to pitching than throwing hard. (Chicago Sun Times )

FOR REAL FRENCHY? Another season, another discussion of how good/bad Jeff Francoeur is. This time he's off to a hot start, so Fangraphs checks it out . The highlights are that his home runs per fly ball rate is unsustainable, but that Francoeur is swinging at far fewer pitches this season than in years past -- so the plate discipline improvement could propel him to one of his best seasons.

HOME COOKIN': Anibal Sanchez was one of the pitching stars of Mother's Day, as he took a no-hitter into the seventh and ended up with a career-high 11 strikeouts. So, of course, this was somehow due to his mom. "She made me breakfast this morning, so that's why I threw a game like that," Sanchez told reporters after the game.

QUADRUPLE-A: Taylor Teagarden hit three home runs and drove home seven in his return to Triple-A Sunday. That means in just seven Triple-A games this year, he has five bombs and 11 RBI. His last full season in the minors -- all the way back in 2007, Teagarden hit .310 with 27 home runs and 83 RBI. But in the majors, well, that's a different story. We know he has power. He has hit 16 home runs in 320 major-league at-bats, but he's also struck out 130 times and has a putrid .285 on-base percentage. Hey, maybe the Rangers can trade him to the Red Sox, just like they did Jarrod Saltalamacchia, another AAAA player.

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Posted on: May 6, 2011 5:53 pm
 

Rangers activate Feliz, hold extra pitcher

By Matt Snyder

The Rangers activated closer Neftali Feliz, as expected, from the 15-day disabled list Friday. Instead of sending a relief pitcher down the minors in a corresponding move, they instead optioned catcher Taylor Teagarden -- so they're carrying eight relief pitchers. This was done because starter Alexi Ogando is still dealing with the blister in his right index finger. He's expected to make his scheduled start Sunday, but just in case he's unable to go, the Rangers have an extra pitcher on the roster. (Foul Territory )

Ogando is wearing a fake fingernail to help alleviate the effects of the blister, but it could still be an issue. The problem with blisters in fingers for pitchers isn't pain at all. It's the ability to control their pitches with normal effectiveness. In Ogando's case, it hasn't much bothered him yet. He first developed the blister in his third start and is still 3-0 with a 2.17 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in six starts. Since he hasn't thrown a bullpen session since his last start, however, it's possible the blister is getting worse.

As for Feliz, he's likely to return to dominant form immediately. He's closed all five of his save chances this season with a 1.08 ERA and six strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings. His activation slides Darren Oliver back into his setup role and helps alleviate the loss of Darren O'Day.

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Posted on: April 28, 2011 9:56 am
Edited on: April 28, 2011 12:52 pm
 

Pepper: Talking Thursday's pitchers

By Matt Snyder

BASEBALL TODAY: Will Kyle McClellan remain perfect on the season? Can Ryan Dempster get back on track? Will Jon Lester get the Red Sox a much needed win? I joined Lauren Shehadi to discuss some of Thursday's more intriguing starting pitchers.

DISABLED DELMON: Twins outfielder Delmon Young hadn't played since April 18, but was hoping to avoid a DL stint. Instead, he's been unable to to get loose during batting practice and the Twins finally saved and placed him on the DL, retroactive to April 19. That's quite a while the Twins played short-handed, and they've been doing so pretty much all season anyway. At some point, expect their fortunes to turn. It all has to even out, right? (MLB.com )

SLOGGING SOX:
The White Sox have gotten the bad end of basestealing this season offensively and defensively. They've allowed opposing runners to swipe 19 bags in 21 chances while only converting 14 of 30 attempts of their own. That's a vast discrepancy. The latter part of the equation is especially tough to understand with Juan Pierre in the lineup, considering he stole 68 of 86 last season. He's only five of 11 thus far in 2011. Of course, manager Ozzie Guillen had his usually colorful explanation on the matter: "We don't have that many people on base, so maybe we forgot how to run the bases." (Chicago Sun-Times )

THERIOT BACK SOON: The Cardinals don't expect Ryan Theriot to need a trip to the disabled list with his current ribcage injury. He may even take the field Thursday against the Astros. (StLtoday.com )

BELT BACK IN OUTFIELD? One of the reasons the Giants were said to have initially brought Brandon Belt to the majors on the opening day roster was that he was a superior first baseman. Of course, it also pushed Aubrey Huff into right field, where he's a butcher. So when Belt returns, it will reportedly be as an outfielder. He'd likely fit on either corner. The move only sounds like it would be for early in Belt's career, as general manager Brian Sabean said: "We know he can play first base." (SFgate.com )

LOGAN'S CAST: Logan Morrison of the Marlins recently got a cast off his injured foot. He's now selling the cast on eBay with proceeds going to the American Lung Association. That's not all, as he had the cast signed by every member of the Marlins -- except Hanley Ramirez.

CUDDYER ON MINORS: Twins slugger Michael Cuddyer writes a column for FOX Sports North, and in his latest installment he discusses the minor leagues, specifically how much it makes him appreciate the majors. He goes through the differences of each level, specifically how travel, food and lodging all get better with each promotion. I especially enjoyed this part about Class A: "I was only 19 and excited to start my professional career, so I really didn’t mind the six-hour bus ride to Clinton, Iowa. I didn’t mind the Econo Lodge that had a hole in the floor where I could see the room below me. I didn’t even mind the $12 per diem we received for all three meals. I didn’t know any better — I just thought it was great that I got to play baseball every day." (fsnorth.com )

AARDSMA STILL NOT READY: Mariners closer David Aardsma is on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Tacoma. It was his fourth outing, but he still wasn't right -- as he gave up a walk and triple to begin the inning. According to manager Eric Wedge, the Mariners are going to "give him the time that he needs to just get more comfortable being on the mound." (Seattle Times )

CEDENO OUT, WOOD IN: Pirates shortstop Ronny Cedeno was benched Wednesday night for the second straight game and it was said to be a "manager's decision" by skipper Clint Hurdle. Tuesday night, Cedeno entered as a pinch-runner and was caught stealing. Later in the game, he received an at-bat and grounded out to third. He must have thought the ball was foul, because he didn't run it out. Interestingly, the once-touted-now-maligned Brandon Wood got the start at short in each of the past two games. It's early and a small sample, but Wood is showing some good signs. He's hitting .250 with a double, two runs and two RBI. The best news, however, is that he's walked twice and only struck out once, giving him a .400 on-base percentage. (Bucco Blog )

BELTRE SUSPENDED BY Rangers: Yeah, if it was Adrian he'd get his own story. We're talking about 21-year-old Rangers prospect Engel Beltre. What happened was Double-A Frisco of the Texas League had a would-be go-ahead home run overturned and ruled a double in the ninth inning of a recent game. Both the manager and pitching coach were ejected in the aftermath. Then water bottles began to be thrown on the field by fans and a plastic trash can was hurled into the stands by Beltre. “It is definitely not something we condone,’’ Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. “It is a black eye for all involved.’’ (ESPN Dallas )

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Posted on: April 26, 2011 2:30 pm
Edited on: April 26, 2011 4:35 pm
 

Webb's (lack of) velocity a serious issue

By Matt Snyder

In this morning's Pepper , I passed along that Rangers' starting pitcher Brandon Webb threw two perfect innings in extended spring training. At the time, that was all the information that was at my disposal. After reading the report filed by Jason Grey of ESPN.com, there's definite reason to believe Webb isn't anywhere near being ready to return.

The reason is that his fastball is dangerously slow. Meaning, it's a high-school level velocity. He threw 12 fastballs, and Grey had Webb clocked at 84 one time. That was his fastest pitch. Everything else sat between 78-82 mph. Yes, he was throwing a fastball only 78 miles per hour.

For what it's worth, Webb still feels like he's going to get close to where he was before all his arm issues.

"[Pitching coordinator Keith Comstock] feels like there's more clicks in there, and I do too. I feel like there's definitely some more in there. I'm not too far off. 84 is a little low. When I was good I was probably 86-89, topping at 90 or so. If I can get back to 86-88 I think I'll be all right," Webb told Grey. (ESPN Insider )

Webb also told Grey he was "letting it go" and not holding back on his fastballs. So that's definitely a problem.

In terms of getting back to the bigs, the team Webb plays for is as much a problem as his velocity. The Rangers have gotten solid starting pitching, with a 3.56 ERA that ranks them third in starting ERA in the AL. With Colby Lewis and C.J. Wilson firmly entrenched in the rotation, Alexi Ogando and Matt Harrison going lights out, Derek Holland having a decent start and the impending returns of Tommy Hunter and Scott Feldman, there isn't exactly a pressing need for starting pitching. And with the Rangers figuring to be in the thick of the AL West race all season, there's no reason to rush anyone -- and the club certainly won't be throwing anyone out there who can't break 85 with a fastball.

At this point, I'd be shocked to see Webb on the Rangers before August and wouldn't even be surprised if he fails to make it the entire season. It's sad how quickly an arm injury has derailed his once-stellar career, but it appears to be the sobering reality -- no matter how optimistic Webb continues to remain.

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Posted on: April 26, 2011 9:54 am
Edited on: April 26, 2011 4:36 pm
 

Pepper: Contentious homecoming



By Matt Snyder


Lance Berkman played in parts of 12 seasons for the Houston Astros. When he joined, he was the new member of the "Killer B's," along with Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio. He was a five-time All-Star and finished in the top five of MVP voting four times. The Astros' career leaderboard is peppered with Berkman's name. He's first in OBP, second in slugging, fourth in batting average and second in OPS. Only Biggio, Bagwell and Jose Cruz played more games for the club. He ranks third in runs, fifth in hits, third in doubles, second in home runs and third in RBI.

Or, put more succinctly: Lance Berkman is one of the greatest Houston Astros of all time.

But things aren't exactly peachy now. Berkman was having the worst season of his career in 2010 -- still a 122 OPS-plus, by the way -- before being dealt to the Yankees. Now, Berkman is playing for Houston rival St. Louis.

As a Cardinal, he's back to his old mashing ways. He's Big Puma again, hitting .377 with a 1.173 OPS, six home runs, 15 RBI and 19 runs through 19 games. He leads the NL with a .725 slugging percentage.

The big start drew the ire of a Houston-area sportscaster, who suggested Berkman didn't work hard his "last few years" for the Astros and now he was back in shape. (Eye on Baseball )

Tuesday night, the Cardinals visit the Astros at Minute Maid Park for the start of a three-game series. Needless to say, Berkman isn't exactly looking forward to it.

"I'm not crazy about going back in there. I felt like I've kind of turned the page and part of me just wants to be done with it. But I know I'm going to have to go back in there and face a lot of questions."

"I guess it's inevitable. When I signed here, I knew we were going to go in there three times, so I'm ready to go and to get all the hoopla, if there is going to be any, out of the way." (stltoday.com )

For whatever it's worth, Berkman did note he's in better shape, though he pointed out it was because his knees are finally healthy again.

It's certainly going to be interesting to see what kind of reception he receives and how he plays.

BASEBALL TODAY: Will Andre Ethier extend his hitting streak tonight? Will Roy Oswalt and Aaron Harang remain unbeaten? C. Trent Rosecrans joins Lauren Shehadi to answer those questions and more.

FEAST OR FAMINE GUYS: When you think of guys who either hit home runs or strikeout -- the Rob Deer All-Stars, if you will -- the names Mark Reynolds and Adam Dunn are among those who come to mind. Carlos Pena, too, though he has been only famine thus far in 2011. Who are the ultimate feast or famine guys in the young season this time around? Beyond the Box Score took a look at the guys who are striking out or collecting extra base hits at the highest percentage. At the top? Jorge Posada, Kevin Youkilis and then ... Reynolds.

Rangers ROTATION UPDATE: The Texas Rangers have gotten pretty good starting pitching this season, other than from Colby Lewis -- who certainly isn't going to be removed from the rotation. Thus, they're pretty close to having an embarrassment of riches. Brandon Webb threw two hitless innings at an extended spring training game Monday. Scott Feldman is slated to throw three innings in extended spring training Thursday, while Tommy Hunter is going to throw in an extended spring game Saturday. Collectively, the Rangers' starters have a 3.56 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 103 strikeouts to 43 walks. The one expected to lose his rotation spot when someone comes back from injury is Alexi Ogando -- the guy who is 3-0 with a 2.13 ERA and astounding 0.79 WHIP. So are the Rangers going to remove him? Or Matt Harrison (3-1, 1.88, 0.94)? Or Derek Holland, C.J. Wilson or Lewis? It's quite a log-jam, once Webb, Hunter and Feldman return, particularly if Harrison and Ogando continue to throw the ball well. (Star-Telegram )

VOTE OF CONFIDENCE FOR OZZIE: On the heels of a 1-10 stretch, the White Sox got a close win Monday night in Yankee Stadium. It had to partially lift a big weight off their collective chests. Still, Guillen had recently put a target squarely on his own back, by saying if anyone should get canned, it should be himself. It was a noble move by Guillen, playing shield for his hitting and pitching coaches. Regardless, general manager Kenny Williams has now said it wasn't necessary. "The coaching staff is not throwing the baseball and not hitting the baseball," Williams said. "They’re doing what they’ve always done." (Chicago Sun-Times )

Mariners FUTILITY: The always-solid Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times discusses how bad the Mariners' offense is, and why it's going to get even worse. In fact, he argues there's a legitimate shot they'll score even fewer than last season's record-low 513 runs.

JAPANESE CONNECTION: Hideki Matsui and Ichiro Suzuki go back a long way. In fact, they first met in high school when Matsui committed a breach in bathing etiquette -- and Ichiro questioned him about it a decade later. Yes, seriously. There's a lot more in there about the relationship between the two, and it's definitely worth a read. (ESPN's West Coast Bias )

LA RUSSA IN OAKLAND: No, not Tony. His daughter, Bianca, has made the Raiders' cheerleading squad for the upcoming NFL season. (Shutdown Corner )

MANNY IN HIGH SCHOOL: Manny Ramirez hit .650 with 14 home runs in 22 games his senior year in high school. Oh, and check out this description of him in high school: "He was the shy, happy-go-lucky boy with the perfect swing who everyone knew was going to the major leagues. The boy who loved to hit more than anything else. The boy who worked harder than anyone else. The baby-faced boy who never drank anything stronger than the nonalcoholic Puerto Rican eggnog from the corner bodega he chugged to bulk up." The writer begs the question, which is the real Manny? An interesting quandry. (New York Times )

HEAT MAPS: NESN is using heat maps for Red Sox's broadcasts. I like the general idea, but there are a million possible variations. What would be best? Personally I'd want OPS by pitch location. (Baseball Analytics )

ATTENDANCE WOES: We're going to hear about this all season if things don't significantly pick up during the summer when the weather gets better. Yahoo! columnist Jeff Passan writes about how bad it looks for several teams and the league as a whole. A lot of numbers look really bad, but it's important to note the drop across the entire league through April 24 was only 1.77 percent. You could easily use the economy and some pretty awful weather to account for that. I'll stick with that for now. Let's revisit the topic in late July. Now, if you're down more than 20 percent (like the Rays and Mariners are), that's a problem. A big one.

A VISITOR'S TOUR OF WRIGLEY: page/COL">Rockies%3A+Blog%29" target="_blank">Troy Renck of the Denver Post took video to give fans a tour of the visitor's dugout at the historic Wrigley Field. Obviously I'd much rather experience things of this nature in person, but for now this'll do.

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Posted on: April 24, 2011 3:23 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 3:27 pm
 

Without Feliz, Rangers have closer question

Rangers

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Rangers headed into the 2011 season fully invested in Neftali Feliz as their closer, trading Frank Francisco in the offseason and moving Alexi Ogando into the rotation to start the spring.

That left a team formerly flush with potential closers in a bind when Feliz was put on the disabled list on Saturday.

In Saturday's save situation, Ron Washington turned to veteran lefty Darren Oliver (above, middle) to get the last three outs against the Royals.

"We've got no bona fide closer right now," Washington said on Saturday, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "It's that simple."

Feliz was. WIth a 1.08 ERA in nine outings with six strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings, Feliz was a prefect 5 for 5 in save situations this season.

Now, Washington could go with Oliver, Darren O'Day or Arthur Rhodes to close out games. Of the trio, Rhodes has the most closing experience with 32 career saves, the last coming with the Marlins in 2008. The most he's had in one season is nine with Oakland in 2004. 

The right-handed O'Day (above, left) had two saves for the Rangers in 2009, the only two of his career.

Oliver's save on Saturday was the fourth of his career. He had one last season and two as a rookie for the Rangers in 1994. He also set a record on Saturday, becoming the oldest Ranger to record a save. Goose Gossage had one at 40 years, 18 days in 1991. Oliver is 40 years, 199 days. But that record may not last long, Rhodes is 41.

"I figured if you're 40 years old, you're probably going to be in a lot of history books," Oliver told Anthony Andro of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "This is probably just one of them. Just think if Arthur saves it tomorrow, he'll be the oldest one."

Ogando, 27, looked like a closer in waiting last season, pitching 44 games out of the bullpen. He had a 1.30 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 41 2/3 innings pitch. While the Rangers' toying with Feliz in the rotation drew many of the headlines in the spring, Ogando quietly won the fifth starter's spot and has been excellent. In four starts this season, he's 3-0 with a 2.13 ERA, picking up the victory against the Royals on Saturday.

Francisco saved 25 games for the Rangers in 2009 and two last season before being supplanted by Feliz. The Rangers sent him to Toronto in exchange for Mike Napoli, who is trying to help fill the offensive void left by Josh Hamilton. Since Hamilton was injured on April 12, Napoli has started five games, with hits in his last three, including a homer on Saturday. He's caught twice, played first twice and served as the DH on Saturday.

Either Francisco or Ogando would have given the Rangers something the trio of Rhodes, O'Day and Oliver do not -- a no-doubt, go-to guy in the ninth inning. 

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Posted on: April 11, 2011 4:07 pm
 

Ogando brilliant again before finger woes

Alexi Ogando

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Blisters, so far, have been a bigger challenge for the Rangers' Alexi Ogando than starting.

Ogando left Monday's game against the Tigers with fluid under a callous on his right index finger after seven innings (the team was careful not to call it a blister). He was limited to six innings with a blister in his debut as a starter last week against the Mariners. However, manager Ron Washington told reporters he expects Ogando to make his next start, Sunday at Yankee Stadium (via Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Twitter).

The right-hander's second start was even better than his sensational first. Like against the Mariners, Ogando allowed just two hits on Monday, but he went an inning longer and walked one fewer. He had four strikeouts in both games.

Darren Oliver and Neftali Feliz finished out the game, each allowing a hit, to give the Rangers a 2-0 victory and improve their record to 9-1, even though TIgers starter Justin Verlander allowed only two runs on six hits in nine innings.

Ogando was originally scheduled just to be a fill-in starter when Tommy Hutner missed the start of the season with a groin injury and Brandon Webb was unable to start the season in his comeback. Ogando was expected to be the team's setup man for Feliz -- or replace him as the closer if Feliz were moved to the rotation.

As a reliever last season, Ogando, 27, had a 1.30 ERA with a 1.13 WHIP and 39 strikeouts in 41 2/3 innings pitch.

Before opening day, Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan said Ogando would be returning to the bullpen "unless he excels so well that it makes sense to leave him in that position."

Two starts and 13 innings with no runs and four hits might qualify.

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Posted on: April 9, 2011 2:33 pm
 

Rangers may keep Alexi Ogando in rotation

By Evan Brunell

OgandoRon Washington appeared on SportsRadio 1310 The Ticket Friday morning and mentioned that it is not a certainty that Alexi Ogando returns to the bullpen.

"If Ogando continues to pitch the way he pitches, I think he makes that tough," Washington says in a transcript provided by the Dallas News. "You won't try to fix something that's not broke. If he goes out there and continues to pitch the way he did the other day, that's going to be a tough call."

Ogando impressed in his start against the Mariners on Tuesday after being pressed into duty thanks to the injury to Tommy Hunter. Ogando, who had been shifted back to the bullpen after a brief tryout to be a starter in spring training, went six innings and allowed just two hits and two walks to Seattle, while striking out four and not allowing a runner to cross the plate.

Some things working against Ogando's favor in long-term success is that pitchers tend to benefit from the cold weather early on and the advantage tilts to the batters in the summer months. In addition, Ogando faced a Mariners offense that is not all that different from the historically-bad numbers the club put up last season. Given Ogando primarily works with a fastball and slider too, it will be a matter of time before hitters start keying in on just these two pitches and exercising discipline therein. It is almost unheard of for a starting pitcher to succeed on solely two pitches. Also working against Ogando is his endurance -- last season he tossed 78 1/3 innings, postseason (6) and minors (30 2/3)) included. In 2009, that number shrunk all the way to 18 1/3 and he had no professional innings in 2008.

It's a lot to ask Ogando, then, to stay in the rotation for a full year. However, you can bet the Rangers know that as well, but are willing to keep their options open. After all, if Ogando keeps setting down batters, why wouldn't they keep him in the rotation?

"We as a group will sit down and discuss that, but it's not anything that's written in stone that Ogando goes back to the bullpen if he's pitching well," Washington added. "We're going to ride what's working for us, and that's the only answer I can give to you. We'll ride what is working. And if Ogando is working, we'll ride it."

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