Texas Rangers: Collin Balester

Notes: Alexi Ogando pleased with changeup

February, 19, 2013
2/19/13
9:30
AM CT
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."

PODCAST
What do you want to see from the Rangers during spring training as Opening Day nears? Coop & Nate discuss.

Listen Listen
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.

Other notes:

* 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
Robbie Ross -- Michael Kirkman
Tanner Scheppers -- Collin Balester
Randy Wells -- Martin Perez
Justin Grimm -- Wilmer Font
Cory Burns -- Jake Brigham
Coty Woods

Wednesday
Matt Harrison -- Nick Tepesch
Yonata Ortega -- Nate Robertson
Neal Cotts -- Evan Meek
Josh Lindblom -- Yoshinori Tateyama
Cody Buckel -- Joe Ortiz
Jeff Beliveau -- Johan Yan
Neil Ramirez

Rangers sign two to minor-league deals

November, 28, 2012
11/28/12
12:57
PM CT
The Texas Rangers have agreed to minor-league contracts with infielder Yangervis Solarte and right-handed pitcher Collin Balester with invitations to spring training, the club announced Wednesday.

If Solarte's name seems familiar it's because he was with the Rangers last season, competing in spring training for the utility infield job. The 25-year-old ended up in Triple-A Round Rock, hitting .288 with 28 doubles, 11 homers and 54 RBIs in 130 games. He's a switch-hitter and played first base, second base, third base and left field in the minors in 2012.

The 26-year-old Balester made 11 bullpen appearances with the Tigers in 2012, going 2-0 with a 6.50 ERA (18 innings). He has pitched in the big leagues the past five seasons (mostly with Washington) and is 7-16 with a 5.30 ERA in those games (73 appearances, 22 starts). He was 1-1 with a 3.64 ERA as a reliever in Triple-A Toledo last season.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Adrian Beltre
BA HR RBI R
.324 19 77 79
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
WC. Lewis 10
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182