Though it seems like a logical certainty, Alexi Ogando might not be starting the season in the Texas Rangers' bullpen, after all.
Talking to Rangers fans via a The Dallas Morning News chat, Rangers GM Jon Daniels spoke out about the Rangers plans for their versatile pitcher. Ogando burst onto the scene in 2010 as a midseason addition when he posted a 1.30 ERA in just more than 40 innings of work as a reliever that moved quickly into the setup role in front of Neftali Feliz.
In 2011, Ogando was quietly shifted to the starting rotation when Tommy Hunter injured his groin just before spring training ended, flying under the radar of the much-discussed move of Feliz to the rotation that never came to fruition (until this season).
Ogando's first 12 starts were at least six innings and he started the season 7-0 before hitting a bit of a wall and finishing the year with a 13-8 record and a 3.51 ERA and making the all-star team. He went back to the bullpen in the postseason and pitched lights-out.
With the addition of Yu Darvish and Feliz's move to the rotation, Ogando seems to be the logical choice to move out of the rotation with his previous success in the bullpen. But it could be Matt Harrison, or Ogando could immediately be moved to the rotation if a Rangers starter goes down with injury.
"We wouldn't prepare Alexi as a starter if he didn't have a chance to open in that role," Daniels said on the chat. "What we're going to do is keep all of our options open, create some competition, and protect ourselves against injury. Then we'll make the best call for the team as a whole. Alexi gives us a lot of options because he's shown his abilities translate to both the rotation and the pen — he can be a plus in either spot, while others don't have that versatility. That's a factor."