Over recent days we've heard more and more Texas Rangers pitchers who have either accepted invites to play in the World Baseball Classic (Derek Holland, USA) or declined to take part (Yu Darvish, Japan).
Now, we have a mixture of the two as Alexi Ogando showed up on the Dominican Republic's preliminary roster for the tournament, which begins in early March and runs through mid-March, but he promptly informed the Rangers he would not be taking part in the world tournament.
It's a great decision from Ogando, who is being stretched out to be in the Rangers' starting rotation and has known he will start since December, a luxury he didn't have in 2011 when he was thrust into the rotation when Tommy Hunter was injured at the end of spring training. Ogando went on to make the AL all-star team as a starter before hitting a bit of an innings wall in the second half of the season.
He returned to the bullpen last year but spent a month on the disabled list after he was injured in a spot start — his only start of the year — against the San Francisco Giants when he was perfect through three innings before leaving the game.
Ogando needs all the time he can get in spring training in Surprise, Ariz., and all the time he can get working with the pitching braintrust that includes Mike Maddux. His brother, baseball Hall of Famer and special assistant to the Rangers GM Greg Maddux, is one of two pitching coaches for Team USA so he won't be there during that time anyway. But still, Ogando's time will be better served by spending time in Surprise rather than traveling around with the Dominicans.