Rangers “are determined” to let Alexi Ogando be a starter

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Alexi Ogando has moved back and forth from the bullpen to the rotation for Texas during the past two seasons, making 30 starts and 59 relief appearances while thriving in both roles, and now T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports that the Rangers “are determined” to use him as a starter in 2013.

Ogando has a 3.49 ERA as a starter and a 2.53 ERA as a reliever, and with both Colby Lewis and Neftali Feliz out following arm surgeries the Rangers’ have a bigger need in the rotation even if they sign a prominent free agent starter. Their own free agent starters, Ryan Dempster, Roy Oswalt, and Scott Feldman, aren’t expected back in Texas.

Ogando has previously said he’d prefer to start and made the All-Star team as a starter in 2011.

Kendrys Morales pitched a scoreless inning Sunday

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Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.

Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.

Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.

On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.