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March 13, 2013

Texas homers twice during rout

SURPRISE, Ariz. — A week ago, Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington said Alexi Ogando was his No. 4 starter.

On Tuesday against the Milwaukee Brewers, Ogando showed why.

Ogando scattered two hits and walked three in four scoreless innings of the Rangers’ 12-3 win over Milwaukee.

“I felt good,” Ogando said through the interpreter. “With the things I was working on, I felt comfortable. There are things you have to work on step by step and you’ve got to improve that way. I think I’m gradually getting to that stage with what I want to do.”

Ogando had struggled in his first three outings, allowing six runs — four earned — in 6 1-3 innings with six walks and seven strikeouts.

Those results, along with speculation that the Rangers might sign another starter, led to some questions whether Ogando might return to the bullpen where he posted a 3.27 ERA and his first three career saves in 58 appearances.

Ogando has had past success as a starter. After being used strictly out of the bullpen in 2010, the right-hander stepped into the rotation the following year and was 13-8 and a 3.51 ERA in 29 starts and 31 appearances overall.

“It’s a great confidence when you have a responsibility like that,” Ogando said. “You know what you have to work on exactly and you try to do the best you can and contribute to the team as much as you can.”

For Washington, the conversation about Ogando begins and ends with his fastball command.

“It was a 100 percent turnaround,” Washington said. “He’s still need to start commanding his fastball a little better. It’s obvious what we’ve seen out of Ogando the last few outings isn’t Ogando. He’s a strike thrower.”

Unlike Ogando, right-hander Mark Rogers’ place in the Brewers’ rotation hasn’t been solidified and against the Rangers he took a step back.

Rogers, who is competing Wily Peralta for a starting spot, lasted only 1 1-3 innings and gave up six runs — three earned — on three hits and four walks with one strikeout.

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