SURPRISE, Ariz. -- If Neftali Feliz, who makes his spring debut this afternoon against Cleveland, joins the Texas Rangers' starting lineup, hard-throwing righty Alexi Ogando will become a candidate for closer.
But, right now he just might not to be ready. There's a concern that Ogando is so focused on throwing every pitch for a strike that it ends up hurting him. He hasn't comprehended the necessary art of wasting a pitch or two an at-bat to keep at least some guess work filtering through the batter's head.
"He doesn’t know how to waste. He's got to work it," manager Ron Washington said. "We've got to help him along, he’s still a young kid."
Ogando was a victim of making a good pitch at a bad time in Wednesday's game against the Angels. Ogando gave up two runs on four hits and Washington pointed to the exact moment when Ogando couldn't help himself. With one run already in and a runner on base with two out, Ogando got to two strikes on Alberto Callaspo.
Ogando went high and Callaspo fouled it back. Ogando then delivered a slider in the zone. Callaspo took it to right to score the second run.
"The one ball that he gave up the base hit with two outs is probably a ball he should have buried, but all Ogando knows how to do is throw strikes," Washington said. "But, he’ll get that together. He should have come back with a slider down in the dirt, change the eye level. As we go along he’ll get better at that."