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Ogando Invaluable to Staff

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Ogando Invaluable to Staff

AP

Texas Rangers starting pitcher Alexi Ogando (41) throws the ball to the Tampa Bay Rays during the sixth inning at Game 2 of baseball's American League division series playoffs, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

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Alexi Ogando was one of the biggest surprises of the season for the Texas Rangers.

After excelling as the team's set-up man last season, the lanky right-hander was moved to the starting rotation late in spring training because of a Tommy Hunter groin injury. It wasn't expected to be a long-term thing. But it was.

Ogando set the baseball world on fire for the first 2-3 months, even landing in the All-Star Game.

Sure, Ogando struggled through the second half of the season as a starter and essentially pitched himself out of any serious postseason rotation consideration, especially with how well Derek Holland began to pitch and how Matt Harrison turned it on.

So where did that leave him? Easy, back to the bullpen.

In three apperances in the ALDS, Ogando has pitched 2 2/3 innings and allowed just one hit, no walks, no runs and two strikeouts.

After Mike Adams' worst performance ever on Monday that fortunately didn't cost the Rangers a win, Washington decided to flip Ogando to the eighth-inning role and move Adams back to the seventh-inning role.

It worked out well for both of them on Tuesday, as they both pitched clean innings and helped lead the Rangers back to the ALCS, making them the first team other than the beloved Yankees or Red Sox to make it to back-to-back ALCS series since 2000 and 2001 when Seattle was there.

It'll be interesting to see if Ogando remains in the set-up role in the next series. Given his performance over the last two games, it'd be hard to imagine otherwise.

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