SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Manager Ron Washington knows how effective Alexi Ogando can be as a starter. The right-hander proved it when he won 13 games in 2011 and helped the Rangers make their second of back-to-back runs to the World Series.
That's why Washington had no problem moving Ogando back into the rotation after a year in the bullpen. And it's why he had no problem naming Ogando his No. 4 starter before spring training began.
Ogando didn't resemble the pitcher Washington knew he could be during his first three spring outings, but the signs were there and he got a little bit better each time he took the mound.
Ogando's fourth outing was a breakthrough. He dominated for four shutout innings Tuesday in the Rangers' 12-3 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. The 29-year old scattered two base hits, and while he walked three, two came in the fourth when he was nearing his 65-pitch limit and fatigue may have set in.
Ogando finished the outing with a strikeout to exit on a high note and leave the impression that his transition back into the rotation shouldn't be judged on his earlier outings.
"His fastball on the last out of the game was about as good of a fastball as we've seen, and I've seen that for the last couple of years pretty consistently," Washington said. "It's obvious what we've seen out of Ogando the last few outings isn't Ogando. He is a strike thrower."
Ogando struck out three giving, him nine in 10 1/3 innings this spring. After giving up three earned runs in 1 1/3 innings in his debut, Ogando has only allowed one run since. Some of his ability to settle down comes from the comforting fact that he doesn't have to fight for a spot in the rotation and can just concentrate on the task at hand.
"It's a great confidence when you have a responsibility like that," Ogando said of starting. "You know exactly what you have to work on and you try to do the best you can."