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All-Star break gives Alexi Ogando rest

7/4/2011

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Alexi Ogando should get some much-needed rest over the All-Star break after finding out he was not picked as an All-Star starter or reserve.

The Rangers’ surprise pitcher of 2011 was not too concerned with missing the shot at his first All-Star appearance, saying he elects to focus on things that are under his control on the mound.

“What can I do?” Ogando said when asked if he felt snubbed.

The positive that comes from not making the All-Star roster is the rest the Rangers coaching staff wants Ogando to take.

The 27-year-old right hander has already thrown 97 2/3 innings in 2011, already just more than 26 innings more than he threw in the major and minor leagues in 2010. It was around the time when he passed the threshold that he began to hit his first real road bumps of the season, tallying his first three losses in a row after picking up four wins in his first six starts.

Washington and his coaching staff have the option of shutting Ogando down until at least July 19 when the Rangers face the Angels in California or rolling the rotation over one more time after the team’s day off July 18, waiting until July 23 to give Ogando the nod.

The decision on Ogando’s future was put on the back burner Sunday with All-Star rosters being announced, but one is coming, Washington said.

“We talked about trying to give him as much of a break as we possibly can,” Washington said.

There also could be the small chance that enough pitchers are scratched from the current All-Star roster because of injury or conflicts with starts, that Ogando could make his way onto the roster depending on how far down he is in player voting.

The two obvious choices for a spot start to take Ogando’s next outing would be Scott Feldman or Tommy Hunter.

Feldman is recovering from right knee surgery that has sidelined him the entire 2011 season. He is currently on a rehab assignment in Round Rock, where he is 2-0 with a 3.23 ERA in six starts.

Washington said he’d prefer to give Feldman another start in Triple-A, but plans could change depending on the decision the club makes with Ogando.

Hunter returned to the Rangers on Saturday after recovering from a groin strain that kept him out of the lineup all of 2011 to pitch 4 2/3 innings in relief allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits.

Washington said Hunter should be ready for whatever role comes his way in the near future.