Spot secure, Ogando needs improvement

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Alexi Ogando has a spot waiting for him in the Rangers' rotation. General manager Jon Daniels said Ogando does not have to win a spot in the rotation or be in danger of being sent back to the bullpen.

"There has been no discussion of that," Daniels said flatly. "He is one of five."

That's what Ogando wants, but he also wants to get better. His first two outings in Spring Training have not been particularly crisp. After three runs in 1 1/3 innings in his first start last Friday against the Royals, Ogando allowed two runs in two innings against the White Sox on Wednesday at Camelback Ranch in an eventual 8-3 Rangers loss.

"Not a lot, but I felt a little better," Ogando said. "The ball was a little high. But overall I felt a little better than I did the last time I pitched. I feel good physically; I just don't have the command I want to have."

Ogando continues to focus on the throwing his changeup and locating his fastball inside on right-handers. That's his primary mission in Spring Training. The Rangers believe that he needs the changeup as a third pitch to be effective as a starter.

"It's a key pitch for me to have to dominate the hitters," Ogando said. "When I have my fastball [command], I have my changeup. But if I can't locate my fastball well and don't feel good with my fastball, my changeup doesn't come easy. Little by little my fastball gets better. If my fastball gets better, the changeup will come."

The two runs were unearned because of a throwing error by second baseman Leury Garcia. Ogando allowed three singles and two walks while striking out one.

"He got through two innings," manager Ron Washington said. "He had trouble with his command, but it was better. He's certainly not throwing as many strikes as he's capable of. Hopefully it will get much better the next time. We want to see execution. We know what Ogando has to offer. Right now he is not where he should be. The only way to get there is go out and compete."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.