Rangers expect Ogando to crack starting rotation

Rangers expect Ogando to crack starting rotation

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Rangers know where they want Alexi Ogando to pitch, but where the right-hander starts the season is ultimately up to him.

"Our thought process is Ogando is fighting to make a starting job," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "If he wins the starting job he's going to be starter. If somebody else wins the starting job away from him, we know he can pitch in the bullpen. We've got Ogando out there working to be a starter."

On Thursday, Ogando was charged with one unearned run on five hits in three innings against the Padres. He struck out one batter and mixed in a steady dose of changeups in the 44-pitch effort.

"I'm glad the team has confidence in me," Ogando said. "But I'm not taking anything for granted. I'm keeping my guard up."

Ogando has plenty of reasons to be optimistic. The shoulder inflammation that once plagued him and landed him on the disabled list last season is no longer an issue. He's also hopeful his extra work in the offseason will keep him off the disabled list in 2014.

"His work ethic has picked up. He understands what you have to do to be a starter," Washington said. "You have to just wait and see if he can stand the rigors of getting the ball 31 times. So until he does that we'll have to wait and see. Keep our fingers crossed and hope nothing unforeseen happens that slows him down. I certainly don't believe fatigue is going to play a part anymore. Let's hope nothing serious happens."

Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.