SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Alexi Ogando, who will start for one of the intrasquad teams today and pitch one inning, is happy with how his changeup has progressed so far this spring. He'll get an even better idea when he faces hitters in a game.
"I feel good about it," said Ogando who has thrown the pitch in live bullpen sessions. "It's a pitch I need to throw to lefties. It's going to help me out against them."
Ogando's splits show a big difference between what he did against lefties and righties in 2012. Right-handed batters hit just .179 against Ogando, who used his fastball and slider to keep them off balance. But left-handers hit .234, and in Ogando's career they've hit .245, more than 50 points better than righties.
So this offseason, knowing he was going back into the rotation, Ogando focused on the changeup.
"It feels better," Ogando said. "I have to throw it more."
It should be interesting to see how the pitch looks in the coming days and weeks.
* Joe Nathan is scheduled to pitch to hitters for the first time Friday and should see his first Cactus League action March 3, according to pitching coach Mike Maddux. "There's no reason to rush him," Maddux said. "We're here a long time. He gets the veteran treatment."
Nathan said he feels fine and has no injury concerns. But the club will just take it slow and cautious with the 38-year-old closer.
* The first intrasquad game of the spring season is Tuesday, followed by another on Wednesday. Both games are at noon local time. Here are the pitchers scheduled to throw:
Tuesday (the dash separates the teams)
Yu Darvish -- Alexi Ogando
Cory Burns -- Jake Brigham
Matt Harrison -- Nick Tepesch
Yonata Ortega -- Nate Robertson
Cody Buckel -- Joe Ortiz
Jeff Beliveau -- Johan Yan