Alexi Ogando is locked in as a starter for the Rangers

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After switching him back and forth between the bullpen and rotation for three seasons the Rangers are now committed to sticking with Alexi Ogando as a full-time starter.

And he’s happy about that, telling T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com: “This is what I want. For me, starting is easier. You have four days off and every fifth day you pitch. I like the routine of the starter.”

Ogando made the All-Star team as a starter in 2011 and has a 3.49 ERA in 30 career starts, but he also  has a 2.53 ERA in 103 career relief appearances.

Sullivan notes that one big difference for Ogando is that he relied almost exclusively on his fastball-slider combination as a reliever, using his changeup just 11 times in 1,040 pitches. As a starter in 2011 he threw his changeup about four times more often, which still isn’t much, but he’s apparently planning to work it into his repertoire more this season.

Cubs sign Drew Smyly to a two-year, $10 million contract

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The Cubs announced on Tuesday evening that the club signed pitcher Drew Smyly to a two-year contract. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports the contract is for $10 million total and allows Smyly to earn another $7 million with performance bonuses. Smyly was non-tendered by the Mariners at the beginning of the month and became a free agent.

Smyly, 28, underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery in late June. He’s expected to miss, at minimum, the first half of the 2018 season. The Cubs are hoping he can contribute to a playoff push in the latter half of the season as well as in 2019.

Smyly didn’t pitch at all in 2017. When he was healthy the season prior, he made 30 starts for the Rays and put up a 4.88 ERA and a 167/49 K/BB ratio in 175 1/3 innings.