Alexi Ogando was thrust into the Texas Rangers' starting rotation in 2011 thanks to an injury late in the spring to Tommy Hunter. He went on a dominant run before hitting an innings wall late and moving back to the bullpen.
But this season should be different for the 29-year-old hard-throwing righty, as he's been prepared to return to the rotation for the upcoming season basically since the end of the 2012 season. In that time, he's been working on a third pitch to keep hitters off-balance multiple times through the lineup. He has a great fastball and a plus slider, but that's not enough to navigate your way through a lineup multiple times over the course of an entire season.
Ogando has flirted with a changeup in the past and has been working it a lot this spring to get himself primed to being a starter.
"I feel good about it," Ogando told ESPN Dallas. "It's a pitch I need to throw to lefties. It's going to help me out against them."
As Richard Durrett pointed out, right-handed hitters hit just .179 against Ogando in 2012 while lefties hit .245. And Ogando believes a refined changeup can help him out especially against lefties.
He'll get to debut that refined pitch against live hitters today when he started an intrasquad game against Yu Darvish and will be throw one inning.