BOSTON -- If the Rangers give Alexi Ogando a break from starting, it may not be because he is physically tired. He may get some time off because of the mental grind from his first season as a starting pitcher.
"The season is a grind," pitching coach Mike Maddux said. "It's a mental grind as much as a physical grind. Experience is a tough teacher. It gives you a test first and the lesson later."
Ogando is 1-2 with an 8.34 ERA in his last five starts. He lasted just 2 2/3 innings in his last start against the Rays on Wednesday.
"You go out and see his velocity in the upper 90's, his command is a little wayward. Sometimes a mental break is necessary more than a physical break," Maddux said.
Maddux also suggested that opposing teams are becoming more familiar with Ogando as he goes through the league for a second and third time. He has made three starts against the Mariners and the Angels. He held the Mariners to one run over 12 innings in the first two starts before allowing six in 2 2/3 innings against them on Aug. 9. The Angels scored one run in 14 2/3 innings off him in the first two meetings and four in 6 1/3 frames in his last vs. the Halos.
"A lot of guys, their first time through the league, you see how people adjust to them," Maddux said. "They've adjusted. A young and inexperienced pitcher has to adjust, too. You say, 'Well, this has always worked.' Well, you still have to make adjustments. It's part of the learning curve."
Right now, Ogando is still scheduled to make his next start on Monday against the Rays. Scott Feldman, who stepped in for Matt Harrison on Tuesday, is back in the bullpen. The Rangers still could insert Feldman in for Ogando on Monday, but they haven't made that decision yet.
"Right now, Ogando is getting the ball," manager Ron Washington said. "He'll get his work in and then Mike and [bullpen coach Andy Hawkins] will decide. The reason we're where we are is because of our starters."