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Maddux Thankful For Starting Depth

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 24: Alexi Ogando #41 of the Texas Rangers pitches in the seventh inning during Game Five of the MLB World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 24, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

    With pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to Surprise, Ariz., for Rangers spring training on Feb. 22, and the signing of Japanese pitching sensation Yu Darvish, the Texas Rangers have some things to sort out in Arizona.

    But make no mistake, the Rangers' problem is a good one to have.

    You see, the Rangers have seven guys they feel can be quality major league starters on their staff and there's only room for five to make the cut. It's not the first time the Rangers have had this luxury, but it is the first time it's been a known luxury.

    If you remember, last season Tommy Hunter was injured in spring training, which paved the way for Alexi Ogando to make an impromptu transition from the bullpen to the rotation. Ogando went on to become an all-star before fizzling out a bit in the second half before moving back to the bullpen for the postseason.

    With Darvish's addition, the Rangers have four sure-fire starters in Darvish, Colby Lewis, Derek Holland and Neftali Feliz. That fifth spot is up for grabs between Matt Harrison, who won 14 games and posted an incredibly solid ERA last season, and Ogando with former 17-game winner (2009) Scott Feldman also in the mix.

    "We have spring training to figure that out," Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux told Norm Hitzges on The Ticket Monday morning. "Let's keep Scott Feldman in that mix too. We're fortunate to have seven major league starters."

    The logical idea would be to move Ogando back to the bullpen and give Harrison the fifth rotation spot, leaving Feldman in the long relief role he excelled at last season. Ogando was a can't-miss set-up man in 2010 and would be a great addition to either the seventh-inning or eighth-inning role with Mike Adams.

    "In the [2011] postseason, I thought having Alexi in the bullpen helped us shorten the game," Maddux said. "We'll figure it all out in spring training. Hopefully we have to make that tough decision because that means we'll have seven major league starters."