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Spring Headlines: Alexi Ogando could head to Rangers bullpen; Tigers scouting Cubs for injury replacements

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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(USA Today)

Baseball is back. As we get closer to the regular season, be sure to stop by The Stew each morning for your daily helping of spring storylines.

ALEXI OGANDO COULD BE HEADING TO THE RANGERS BULLPEN after the team was less than encouraged by his outing against the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night. In the outing, Ogando allowed five unearned runs on six hits in three innings, which means he didn't get all of the help he needed. He also allowed back-to-back homers to Cubs prospects Mike Olt and Javier Baez, which means he didn't exactly limit the damage either.

According to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com, complicating matters was Ogando's abrupt exit from the game with what the team believed to be the beginning of a blister.

"They saw me rubbing my fingers, which I sometimes do," Ogando said. "They thought something was wrong and they went to check on it. It's fine. I don't have a blister. But they felt I had enough … so they pulled me out."

Ogando, 30, was viewed as a virtual lock for the rotation after Derek Holland and Matt Harrison were shelved with preseason injuries. If the Rangers ultimately move him to the bullpen, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News says Tanner Scheppers would begin the season in Texas' starting five.

THE DETROIT TIGERS ARE SCOUTING Chicago Cubs outfielder Nate Schierholtz and middle infielder Darwin Barney, according to Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago. Detroit is seeking replacements for outfielder Andy Dirks, who recently underwent back surgery, and slick-fielding shortstop Jose Iglesias, who may be lost for the season with stress fractures in both shins.

In terms of replacing Iglesias, Barney seems like a sensible option considering he's provided Gold Glove defense for Chicago as a second baseman and has the arm strength to slide over to shortstop. Any downgrade there would be fairly small, though there wouldn't be much too be gained offensively based on Barney's career slash line of .246/.293/.336. With Stephen Drew seemingly not on Detroit's radar though, a trade with Chicago or otherwise should almost be expected at some point.

Levine reports the Cubs would seek young pitching in a trade for either Barney or Schierholtz, but didn't specify who the Cubs might covet in Detroit's system.

JACOBY ELLSBURY IS GETTING READY TO TEST his sore right calf by jogging and shagging fly balls in the outfield and expects his preparation for the season to remain on schedule, according to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com.

"It's really just a timing thing, if your feel is there," Ellsbury said. "I felt pretty good the last two games at the plate, seeing the ball well. I'm not too concerned about it. I've been doing a lot of stuff."

Ellsbury's earliest possible return date for game action will be Friday, meaning he'll miss his two chances to play against the Boston Red Sox this week. The teams played once on Tuesday and will meet again Thursday night.

"I'd like to go, but I'm not heartbroken," Ellsbury said. "I saw a lot of those guys yesterday."

Assuming he's healthy, Ellsbury will have plenty of chances to hit the field with his old teammates this season, beginning with a four-game series at Yankees Stadium on April 10-13.

CARLOS CORREA IS HEADED FOR X-RAYS after being struck on the left hand by a pitch from Tyler Clippard of the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night.

The Astros former No. 1 overall draft pick and current top prospect didn't seem too concerned when talking to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com following the game.

"It feels great, you know," he said. "I got kind of scared when I got hit and my hand got numb. I didn't know how it would feel after, then when I got in [the clubhouse], I could move my hand and it got a lot better. I'm feeling good about it."

However, the Astros will exercise caution because it certainly didn't look or sound good as evidenced by the video.

Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon has a pretty high opinion of reigning American League Rookie of the Year Wil Myers.

As transcribed by Rays Index from Maddon's appearance on ESPN Radio's Mike&Mike:

"He's a different cat, in all the good ways. He's very loose. He's a lot of fun. We have a great time with him…Honestly, I often compare him to [Will Ferrell's character in "Talladega Nights"] Ricky Bobby, because that's who he is. I see it in there every time. He wakes up in the morning and he pees excellence. That's who he is."

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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