Even though it's spring training and pitchers are still trying to round into form and work on secondary pitches, and in some cases, new pitches, the Texas Rangers had to have a slight amount of concern for Alexi Ogando after his first couple of spring training outings.
The reliever-turned all-star starter-turned reliever is now ready to be a starter again and is set to fill the fourth starter role in the Rangers' rotation, but so far this spring he had struggled pretty badly. Then came Wednesday's outing, his third of the spring, when he looked like his old self.
Ogando went three innings, allowing an earned run with two hits, two walks and six strikeouts, including two of the final two batters he faced with runners on second and third base, preserving the Rangers' slim lead over the Chicago Cubs.
"I didn't really concern myself with that," Ogando told ESPN Dallas of his rough start. "It's part of the process. You don't have good outings all the time, so it's good to get the bad ones out of the way early. That's why you're working hard every day."
Back in 2011, before he hit an innings wall after tripling his previous career-high for innings, Ogando was as dominant as they come, earning an all-star berth as a starter after he started the season 6-0 with a microscopic ERA. He finished the season 13-8 with a respectable 3.51 ERA in his 29 starts, but now the Rangers hope a spring working as a starter will pay benefits down the road and help him sustain himself throughout the season. In 2011, Ogando was thrust into the rotation at the very end of the spring after Tommy Hunter pulled his groin.
"He certainly has to show us he can give us more innings than he gave us and he'll certainly get the opportunity to do that," Washington told ESPN Dallas.