Friday, March 16, 2012
Musings: Impact of Alexi Ogando, Joe Nathan
By Jean-Jacques Taylor
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers bullpen, given health, is going to help them shut down opponents after six innings like never before. Much like they did in the playoffs, the Rangers will use Alexi Ogando to pitch multiple innings to get the ball to Mike Adams in the eighth and Joe Nathan in the ninth.
Ogando is going to have a huge impact on the team without many wins or saves.
* Face it, Neftali Feliz was so inconsistent last season, you never really felt the game was over when he pitched.
Joe Nathan should bring back a return of those game-over feelings. He’s fully recovered from Tommy John surgery in 2010, which means he should return to being a dominant closer again.
“My wife says she never knows when I get home from the ballpark whether I got a save or blew the save unless she watched the game,” he said. “I’ve always been like that. I put them behind me pretty quickly whether it’s good or bad.”
* David Murphy is making progress as an outfielder, especially when it comes to reading the ball off the bat and getting a better jump. Although the Rangers will still use Josh Hamilton in center field, the better all-around player Murphy is, the more games he’ll start because the Rangers’ best lineup is with Hamilton in center and Murphy in left.
* Hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh sounds an awfully like Jason Garrett, when it comes to hitting.
“It’s all about the process,” he said. “If you go up there with a plan and execute it, then the results will take care of themselves. Most guys find trouble because they’re trying to get a hit or hit the ball hard.
“But if you go up there and look for a pitch you can drive on a part of the plate that you can handle, then you’ll hit the ball hard and you’ll drive it.”
* I don’t see a role, right now, on the Rangers for veterans Brad Hawpe or Conor Jackson. Neither has played well enough, thus far, to distinguish themselves and when the club returns from Las Vegas next week, them emphasis will switch from player development to getting ready for the season.
* Phenom Jurickson Profar has Ron Washington’s attention.
“He’s a player, and he’s not afraid,” Washington said. “He just needs time because his body is still filling out. It won’t be too long before he’s here.”