Both Alexi Ogando and Neftali Feliz are going to be key members to the Texas Rangers' pitching staff.
Feliz is expected to most likely be the team's closer again after a two-year hiatus to try pitching in the starting rotation. He's coming off Tommy John surgery in 2012 and judging by history, 2014 should be his bounce-back year.
Ogando is most likely in the rotation again after being discussed as a reliever or starter, but Derek Holland's injury and subsequent knee surgery will most likely make Ogando the team's No. 4 starter, a position in which he served last year before spending three separate stints on the disabled list and struggling with his efficiency and working even into the sixth inning of starts.
But both pitchers say they are feeling great and ready to roll when pitchers and catchers report to Surprise, Ariz., in a few weeks.
“My arm is perfect. When I threw in winter ball, my command was perfect,” Feliz told the Star-Telegram on Tuesday after a workout at the Rangers’ Dominican academy. “I’ve tried to work hard to be ready to do my job as closer and go to the playoffs this year.”
Rumor has it, Feliz is even hitting 98 mph with his fastball, which would be phenomenal news, and not unbelievable considering how some guys have come back stronger than ever after Tommy John surgery.
Ogando said he wants to start the season in the rotation and stay there, unlike last year when he eventually went back to the bullpen — same in 2011. So far, throughout his career, he's been a reliever in even numbered years and a starter in odd ones, but that is expected to change in 2014.
“I’m happy with being in the rotation,” Ogando told the Star-Telegram. “Right now, I’m working hard every day. My shoulder feels perfect. I’ve got no problems. I don’t want to go back like last year.”