BOSTON -- Rangers pitcher Scott Feldman will spot start on Monday to give Alexi Ogando a break. Ogando is slated to start again on Sept. 10 in Arlington against Oakland. The club will also utilize the off days to give Matt Harrison more time after his start on Sunday. He won't pitch again until Sept. 13.
Feldman spot started for Harrison on Tuesday against Tampa Bay and gave up no runs on two hits in six innings, turning things over to the bullpen to preserve a 2-0 win.
Manager Ron Washington said Ogando needs more of a mental break than a physical one at this time, though he acknowledges that Ogando is throwing more innings than he has in his career. Ogando's velocity has been fine, but his command has been wayward at times.
"We figured we'd give him a rest and maybe he can catch his second wind," Washington said. "
Ogando has thrown 154 innings so far this season. He is 12-7 with a 3.68 ERA. But in his last five starts, Ogando is 1-2 with an 8.34 ERA (22 2/3 innings) with 15 strikeouts and eight walks. He pitched 72 1/3 innings in the majors and minors last year. So he's adjusting to throwing that many innings. But unlike Harrison, Ogando's velocity hasn't really go down much to indicate he was having fatigue issues physically.
"The velocity is fine and it's coming out of his hands fine," Washington said. "It's just the adjustment part of it. When you get to the adjustment part of it out there when things are not happening like you want them to happen, that's mental."
Ogando could be available out of the bullpen before he starts again. The club will try to let him get a rest and work on some things, but if they need him, they'll use him. Harrison threw two innings in a game a few days ago and said that helped him see if what he was working on in his bullpen sessions could translate to games. Washington said the club only pitched Harrison because they needed him.
Feldman said Friday that he was ready to do whatever the club needed and that he didn't need to know very far in advance whether he was starting. Now he's got a few days to get mentally prepared to face the same team that he saw last week.