Washington confident in his rotation

Washington confident in his rotation

ARLINGTON -- As the calendar turned to September, manager Ron Washington reflected on the performance of his rotation, and reaffirmed his confidence in his starters.

Washington said that Alexi Ogando is still in line to make the start on Monday in St. Petersburg but that the decision has not been made yet.

"Right now, [Matt] Harrison's definitely throwing Sunday, and we're giving Ogando a chance to catch his breath," Washington said. "We haven't made any decisions on it."

If the Rangers are to win the pennant, their young starters, Ogando, Harrison and Derek Holland, cannot allow fatigue to get in their way, and they must pitch the way they have for much of the season.

"We are where we are because of our starting rotation," Washington said. "They're the ones that got us here. We just recently fixed the bullpen to the point where now if they give us six or seven innings, we can do some things. But they're the ones that got us here, and they're going to have to figure out a way to take us the rest of the way."

Washington emphasized that this season is a much larger challenge on the trio than it was last season.

"Now they know what it's like to be in a pennant race when it's on their shoulders," he said. "The last two years when they were in it, it wasn't on their shoulders. It's on their shoulders now, and they're going to be better for it."

When the team broke Spring Training, it was assumed that Ogando was a placeholder for Tommy Hunter and that Scott Feldman or Brandon Webb could take spots in the rotation if the young starters didn't prove up to the task.

But all three pitched well enough that Hunter is now a starter for the Orioles, shipped out in exchange for relief help, and Feldman is a spot starter.

"When we left Spring Training, we wasn't sure, because things went and got into a flux there at the end. We weren't sure," Washington said. "We knew that these guys had potential, but potential doesn't win ballgames. You've got to go between the lines and do it. They have risen to what expectations are, even though there's been hiccups."