Rangers moving Alexi Ogando back to the bullpen

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After an excellent rookie season as a reliever in 2010 the Rangers moved Alexi Ogando into the rotation last year with good results, as he started 29 games with a 3.51 ERA and 126/43 K/BB ratio in 169 innings.

Normally that would be enough to lock a 28-year-old pitcher into the rotation long term, but T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports that the Rangers have decided to reverse course and move Ogando back to the bullpen despite having him build up arm strength as a starter all spring.

Ogando threw six innings in a start yesterday and has made it very clear that he wants to remain a starter. No official announcement has been made yet, but according to Sullivan it’s just a matter of time before manager Ron Washington breaks the bullpen news to Ogando.

Last spring Neftali Feliz staying in the bullpen gave Ogando an opportunity to prove himself as a starter. This spring Feliz moving to the rotation will apparently take that opportunity away. His versatility is a nice luxury for the Rangers, as Ogando was unhittable as a rookie reliever in 2010 with a 1.30 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 42 innings, and of course given how few teams make it through a season needing just five starters his days in the rotation may not be finished.

The Tigers are trying to convert Anthony Gose into a pitcher

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Tigers’ center fielder Anthony Gose wants to try his hand at pitching, according to comments made by manager Brad Ausmus on Sunday. Gose is poised to start the year in Triple-A Toledo after receiving a midseason demotion to Double-A last summer following an altercation with Triple-A manager Lloyd McClendon.

While the experiment won’t detract from Gose’s outfield work in Triple-A, the 26-year-old is expected to take on additional bullpen sessions throughout the year. According to MLB.com’s Jason Beck, the left-handed hitter last took the mound in high school, where his fastball was clocked as fast as 97 m.p.h. Gose ultimately rejected the idea of starting his professional career as a pitcher, despite receiving favorable assessments from scouts.

Ausmus said the idea first surfaced at the end of the 2016 season. It appears to be a fallback option for the outfielder, who has struggled at the plate over his five-year career in the majors. Via Chris McCosky of the Detroit News:

Doolittle in Oakland did it and he was in the big leagues a couple of years later,” Ausmus said. “It’s going to take some time. He’s going to have to be a sponge and catch up on experience fast. But we feel it’s worth investigating.

Stephen Strasburg is the Nationals’ Opening Day starter

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Nationals’ right-hander Stephen Strasburg will take the mound for the club on Opening Day, manager Dusty Baker said on Sunday. The news is hardly surprising given Max Scherzer’s questionable status this spring, though it had yet to be confirmed by the club.

Strasburg is approaching his eighth run with the club in 2017. He went 15-4 in 2016, finishing the year with a 3.60 ERA, 2.7 BB/9 and 11.2 SO/9 in 147 2/3 innings. This will mark his fourth Opening Day assignment with the Nationals.

Scherzer, the Nationals’ Opening Day starter in both 2015 and 2016, is scheduled to make his season debut sometime during the first week of the season. The right-hander is expected to take things more slowly this spring as he finishes rehabbing a stress fracture in his finger.

The Nationals will open their season against the Marlins on April 3.