SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) – A week ago, Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington said Alexi Ogando was his No. 4 starter.
On Tuesday against the Milwaukee Brewers, Ogando showed why.
Ogando scattered two hits and walked three in four scoreless innings of the Rangers’ 12-3 win over Milwaukee.
“I felt good,” Ogando said through the interpreter. “With the things I was working on, I felt comfortable. There are things you have to work on step by step and you’ve got to improve that way. I think I’m gradually getting to that stage with what I want to do.”
Ogando had struggled in his first three outings, allowing six runs — four earned — in 6 1-3 innings with six walks and seven strikeouts.
Those results, along with speculation that the Rangers might sign another starter, led to some questions whether Ogando might return to the bullpen where he posted a 3.27 ERA and his first three career saves in 58 appearances.
Ogando has had past success as a starter. After being used strictly out of the bullpen in 2010, the right-hander stepped into the rotation the following year and was 13-8 and a 3.51 ERA in 29 starts and 31 appearances overall.
“It’s a great confidence when you have a responsibility like that,” Ogando said. “You know what you have to work on exactly and you try to do the best you can and contribute to the team as much as you can.”
For Washington, the conversation about Ogando begins and ends with his fastball command.
“It was a 100 percent turnaround,” Washington said. “He’s still need to start commanding his fastball a little better. It’s obvious what we’ve seen out of Ogando the last few outings isn’t Ogando. He’s a strike thrower.”
Unlike Ogando, right-hander Mark Rogers’ place in the Brewers’ rotation hasn’t been solidified and against the Rangers he took a step back.
Rogers, who is competing Wily Peralta for a starting spot, lasted only 1 1-3 innings and gave up six runs — three earned — on three hits and four walks with one strikeout.
Only 18 of Rogers’ 42 pitches were thrown for strikes.
“I was a little off,” Rogers said. “I don’t know how to put it into words. I just didn’t feel like myself today. I never got into a groove.”
Rogers has allowed 10 runs — five earned — on eight hits with 10 walks in six innings across three starts.
“I’ve been putting in the work,” Rogers said. “My last bullpen was outstanding, probably my best of the spring, but I wasn’t able to transfer it over. I’ve just got to get my consistency back.”
Rangers third baseman Jeff Baker singled, homered and drove in a pair of runs. Baker has hit safely in seven straight games and is 12 for 15 over that stretch.
Mike Olt also homered for Texas.
NOTES: Rogers was 3-1 in seven starts for Milwaukee a year ago and struck out 41 in 39 innings. Another roster complication for the Brewers is Rogers is out of minor league options. . Rangers LHP Matt Harrison, who was scratched from his start Saturday with inflammation in his left toe, allowed two runs on four hits and a walk in a “B” game against the Kansas City Royals earlier Tuesday. . Texas CF Julio Borbon homered in the “B” game for the Rangers’ only hit. Borbon also started against the Brewers and went 2 for 3. . Before the game, the Rangers assigned RHP Jake Brigham and OF Joey Butler to minor league camp, optioned RHP Neil Ramirez and RHP Justin Miller to the minors and added RHPs Ben Rowen and Lisalverto Bonilla to major league camp from the minor league side.
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