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Rotation Begins Third Time Through Today



    Rotation Begins Third Time Through Today
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    C.J. Wilson #36 of the Texas Rangers pitches during a spring training game against the Kansas City Royals at Surprise Stadium on February 27, 2011 in Surprise, Arizona.

    The Rangers' Opening Day starter, C.J. Wilson, will make his third start of the spring today and is scheduled to throw four innings and/or 65 pitches. The first start was two innings, then three, and now four. That's the general progression of starters in the spring, and the Rangers begin their rotation for four innings today with Wilson.

    On Friday, Colby Lewis will get the start, and so on.

    Those two have the top two spots in the rotation locked up, but the remaining spots are still up for grabs, minus Brandon Webb, who will be expected to be the No. 3 starter once he's healthy.

    For Wilson and Lewis, these starts will just be another work day in March, but for the likes of Derek Holland, Michael Kirkman, Alexi Ogando, Eric Hurley, Dave Bush and Matt Harrison, this third spring start will be a much bigger deal.

    All six of those guy went three innings in their last start (most recently Holland) and thanks to the crack research of Rangers guru Jamey Newberg, here are the composite numbers for those six in their last three-inning outing. It's pretty sick, so get ready.

    Eighteen innings, 13 strikeouts, nine hits, six walks, and a big fat goose egg in the run column.

    I don't care who you are, or who you're pitching against (as long as it isn't a high school team), that's impressive.

    This fourth time through the rotation will prove a lot. It will show whether guys like Ogando are able to a) pitch four innings and b) pitch twice through a lineup and use a full arsenal of pitches. We know Holland has that ability, he started a full season as a rookie two years ago. Same goes for Bush, Harrison and Hurley, who all have at least a reasonable amount of starting experience at some level.

    The really interesting guys to watch here are Holland, because he was so effective in Wednesday's start against the A's, and Ogando because he's a bit of an unknown when it comes to starting, but was equally effective on Monday night against the Giants.

    It is just spring, but if things continue like this for this group of potential starters, that rotation might be OK after all.