SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers pitcher Alexi Ogando is going back to the bullpen. He wouldn't mind going back as the closer.
He probably won't get his wish. It is far more likely that he will go back as a setup reliever, with Neftali Feliz remaining as the closer.
"His role is the same ... whenever we put him in the game," Rangers manager Ron Washington said.
Feliz is starting against the Padres on Thursday and is still technically a candidate for the rotation. But the Rangers are strongly leaning toward leaving him as the closer because they have far more concerns about their bullpen than the rotation.
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Ogando would be the leading -- possibly only -- candidate to close if Feliz moves into the rotation. Ogando was 4-1 with a 1.30 ERA in 44 games as a rookie in 2010. The 1.30 ERA was the lowest in one season by a Rangers pitcher with a minimum of 40 innings pitched.
"When you see somebody with his command and can throw as hard as he can throw, he does have the capability to close," Washington said. "But we in baseball know not everybody can do it. The only guy in our bullpen who has that experience is Neftali. We'll see."
Ogando wants the job and believes he can do it.
"I feel I'm mentally strong and don't think it will affect me that much," Ogando said.