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.

Cardinals shut down Carlos Martínez for two weeks due to shoulder issue

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MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.

Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”

Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.

Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.