ARLINGTON, Texas -- So what if the Texas Rangers don't get a starting pitcher by Tuesday's trade deadline? Plan B might be to go out and get a bullpen piece (and maybe a right-handed bat for the bench, too) and move Alexi Ogando into the starting rotation.
The club acknowledged earlier this week that it was a possibility that Ogando could be stretched out to start again if needed after the deadline. On Friday, he pitched the final three innings -- his longest non-start of the season. He gave up three runs in the ninth inning, allowing the Chicago White Sox to turn a one-run game into a nice, four-run cushion. Ogando allowed two hits with two walks and two strikeouts. But he did throw 44 pitches in his 2 2/3 innings of work.
"It was an opportunity," manager Ron Washington said. "We were down one run and he was throwing the ball well. But they put some good at-bats on him in that ninth inning. He threw some sliders and they didn't miss them. They hit them hard."
Ogando's only start was the three innings he pitched against San Francisco. He didn't allow a hit in those perfect innings before exiting with a groin injury. He was an All-Star in 2011 thanks to his great first half in the rotation, going 9-3 with a 2.92 ERA. He ended up hitting a wall and became a valuable bullpen piece in the playoffs.
We'll see if Ogando ends up going back into the rotation at some point. But on Friday, he got a chance to get further prepared for that if the Rangers decide they want to go that route.