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Ogando could get another look as a starter

The SportsXchange

The Texas Rangers are casting a wide net to fill out their recently injury-depleted rotation.

They are looking at the Milwaukee Brewers' Zack Greinke and the Miami Marlins' Josh Johnson on the trade market. They expect to have Roy Oswalt and Neftali Feliz back soon. They are auditioning Scott Feldman and Martin Perez.

And the list is growing.

Add the name of Alexi Ogando.

Manager Ron Washington said Tuesday the club has discussed the possibility of returning Ogando to the rotation, particularly if the Rangers find bullpen depth is easier to acquire on the trade market than starting pitching.

"I would say don't be surprised if that happens down the line," Washington said of Ogando moving back to a starting role.

There are two obstacles to the move, however. For one, Ogando must be able to work deeper into games than he is capable of at this point. Ogando has not thrown more than 39 pitches in a game this season. In that game, his lone start of the season, he came out after three innings with a strained groin muscle that sent him to the disabled list for five weeks. At an absolute minimum, Ogando would have to be able to give the Rangers between 50 and 60 pitches.

Second, he must be able to better command the strike zone. In his first three outings after returning from the DL, he threw only 36 of 66 pitches for strikes and allowed two walks. He had allowed only seven walks in his first 34 innings this season. On Tuesday, though, he was sharper, pitching a 1-2-3 inning on 16 pitches (11 strikes) in Texas' 2-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox.

"I have to recognize that I have not been at my best yet," Ogando said. "I was out a long time and lost the strike zone a little. I need to get it back."

Ogando also said it remains his wish to pitch as a starter. Last year, he pitched as a starter during the regular season and made the AL All-Star team, but he tired down the stretch. The Rangers moved him back to the bullpen for the postseason, and he was the club's most effective reliever in the first two rounds of the playoffs.
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