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 Colby Lewis out for the season, Roy Oswalt's back being uncertain and the ongoing rehab of Neftali Feliz, who may or may not return to the rotation when healthy, the Texas Rangers are being mentioned as big-time players for starting pitching help with the July 31 trade deadline rapidly approaching.
And while it's very likely the Rangers make some kind of move at the deadline, don't be too surprised if they search within their own organization for help. Scott Feldman had a great spot start against the most productive offense in baseball on Monday night. Triple-A call-up — and Rangers' top pitching prospect Martin Perez had a similar outing Tuesday.
But the big name Rangers brass is looking at for starting help is none other than Alexi Ogando. Rangers MLB.com writer T.R. Sullivan said the following on Tuesday:
Reinforcing the bullpen and putting Alexi Ogando in the rotation is a serious option that the Rangers are giving much consideration.
Um, interesting? First off, Ogando would have to be stretched out. And that wouldn't be a quick process. It would take at least a couple of weeks. If that were a serious plan for the Rangers, he likely would've pitched two innings on Tuesday night instead of just one, especially since he was looking pretty good.
Second, what does this say for Neftali Feliz? Feliz is on his way back, and while it was expected he'd return to the bullpen upon being healthy when the Rangers' staff was at full strength, this is different. Feliz wasn't chopped liver as a starter. He was 3-1 with a 3.16 ERA with that one loss being an eight-inning complete game in Detroit against Justin Verlander. He threw three scoreless innings in a rehab start Tuesday night in Round Rock.
There's no doubt Ogando wants to be a starter, and why not? He was an all-star in 2011 as a starter before hitting the proverbial wall in the second half after his workload increased greatly in his first pro season as a starter.
"That's what I always wish. It's no secret I would like to start," Ogando told ESPNDallas. "I just have to be ready."
Ogando is such a valuable piece of the Rangers' bullpen when he's healthy. Not only is he dominant, but he's versatile. He could be a closer, a set-up man or he could give three great innings in a tie game late.
It's an interesting thought to put Ogando back into the rotation, but it just doesn't seem practical right now and would be risky seeing as how he was shelved for a month last time he made a start.