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Monday, September 23, 2013
Buzz: Healthy Ogando back on track

By Todd Wills

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The days of the Rangers waiting to announce their fifth starter are long gone.

They can't wait for a healthy Alexi Ogando to pitch again Friday.

Ogando averaged 95 mph on his fastball and allowed two hits in seven scoreless innings in his last outing. Unfortunately, the Rangers lost Sunday to Kansas City, 4-0, on walk-off grand slam.

But Ogando's dominance was a positive coming out of a tough loss.

"That's the Ogando we thought we were getting out of spring training," manager Ron Washington said.

Ogando has had three different stints on the disabled list this season for right shoulder inflammation and biceps tendinitis. He has freedom in his right arm, which has brought his velocity back after it dipped to 93 mph. The bite is back with his slider.

"I feel stronger right now," Ogando said. "My arm feels good now."

"We finally nailed down his issue," Washington said. "The issue he was having in his shoulder, we finally nailed it down. We had to put him on the DL two or three times to figure it out, but we finally figured it out."

There's been much debate about Ogando's role as a starter or a reliever. General manager Jon Daniels said the club has not begun making plans for the 2014 season.

The pitcher continues to fall on the starting side of the debate.

"I'm going to work for that," Ogando said.

Soria improving: Reliever Joakim Soria gave up the walk-off grand slam to Kansas City's Justin Maxwell on Sunday, but Washington sees a pitcher getting better in his recovery from Tommy John surgery.

Soria got two outs with the bases loaded in the 10th inning Sunday, but got himself in a full-count situation with Maxwell and lost the fight.

"As he's moved along, he's starting to execute better," Washington said. "I thought he did a good job yesterday, he just didn't get that third out. Maxwell battled him and got him in a spot where he had to throw a fastball and he didn't miss it. He's competing good. His stuff looks good."

Rios stands by decision: Alex Rios said Monday that if he had to do it again, he would gamble and try to move up from second to third on a fly ball like he did Sunday in the ninth inning.

Rios was thrown out at third on an accurate throw by Royals left fielder Alex Gordon, who leads the AL in outfield assists. Rios said he was testing Gordon's accuracy.

The Rangers have to stay aggressive on the basepaths because of their struggles scoring runs, Rios said.

"Play aggressive but be smart," he added.

Short hops: The Rangers have allowed five walk-off home runs this season, tying a club record set in both 1976 and 2002. It's tied for the most in the majors with Cincinnati, Seattle and the New York Mets. ... Third baseman Adrian Beltre started Monday needing eight hits for 200, two homers for 30 and two RBIs to reach 90 for the season.