ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are close to getting Alexi Ogando stretched out so he can go into the rotation if needed. The Rangers had Ogando go 2 2/3 innings and throw a season-high 44 pitches in his longest relief appearance of the season on Friday night.
Ogando, with a few days rest, said he could pitch five or six innings in his next outing if needed. The Rangers haven't made that decision but they are clearly looking at him as an option for the rotation. Ogando pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings against the White Sox so the Rangers sent him out for the ninth inning.
Manager Ron Washington said the primary reason was Ogando was pitching well in a close game. The secondary reason was to get him stretched out. But Ogando allowed three runs in the ninth inning as the White Sox pulled away to a 9-5 victory. Ogando has an 8.10 ERA in six appearances since returning from the disabled list after missing a month with a strained right groin muscle.
"After being off the mound for a long time, it takes time to get back in the groove," Ogando said.
"It still looks to me like he's throwing the ball well," Washington said. "We're not seeing the results but it doesn't look like he's holding back and it doesn't look like his groin is bothering him. The only way he's going to get there is by throwing to batters."
Ogando is one of two options for the Rangers in reinforcing the rotation after Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline. The other is Neftali Feliz. He is scheduled to throw five innings and 80 pitches in a rehab assignment. It will be his fourth start on assignment and he'll likely need one more after this one.
Then, if all goes well, the Rangers will have to decide if he's ready to go back to the rotation or needs to be used out of the bullpen.
"Right now the only thing with Neftali is [that] he gets healthy and he becomes a pitcher for us," Washington said. "We want him stretched out as a starter. After that we can make adjustments. We're not going to rush him back, we're going to make sure he's ready."