ARLINGTON -- Pitcher Alexi Ogando was asked if the Rangers would be in first place if he had been able to stay healthy all year.
"I don't know," Ogando said. "I tried but … I think so."
Ogando wasn't healthy all year. He was on the disabled list three times for biceps and shoulder inflammation and was able to make just 17 starts. Derek Holland made his 32nd start on Monday and Yu Darvish will make his 31st start Tuesday.
Ogando is showing lately what might have been in those 14-15 missing starts. He has allowed just one run in 18 innings over two starts and four relief appearances since coming off the disabled list at the beginning of September. He has allowed just five hits and three walks while striking out 14.
"Right now, I feel strong," Ogando said. "I feel comfortable. I worked hard for that."
Ogando is 7-4 with a 2.93 ERA over 98 1/3 innings, and opponents are hitting .218 against him. His 2.93 ERA would rank fifth best in the American League if Ogando had enough innings. Only two qualifying pitchers have held opponents to a lower batting average. Ogando threw seven scoreless innings on Sunday against the Royals.
"I'm just really encouraged," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "He has been outstanding, and he did it without a rehab assignment. He has been building up on the fly. I'm looking forward to his next start and beyond."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger.Master Tesfatsion is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.