Alexi Ogando finds positives after rough start

MESA, Ariz. -- It has been a gradual process, but both manager Ron Washington and Alexi Ogando see progress in the right-hander's transition back to the rotation after pitching out of the bullpen last season.

Ogando's four previous spring starts featured a mix of good and bad, but his performance and results indicated he is getting closer to being ready for the regular season.

"Right now I am focusing more on attacking the zone," Ogando said. "Everyday I see improvement on and off the field. I am practicing every pitch and feel I am improving location-wise everyday."

Ogando had a rough start to his fifth outing Tuesday in the Rangers' 5-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs, allowing four runs (three earned) and two home runs in the first two innings. He settled down after that and didn't allow any more runs and pitched out of a jam in the fifth inning when he retired the final three batters he faced.

"He is still trying to find command of his fastball, but then in the fourth and fifth innings he started getting better with it," Washington said. "He's progressing. That fourth and fifth innings he starting spotting the fastball the way he could. There's two pitches I know he'd like back. Other than that, I thought he did a good job."

Overall, Ogando gave up the four runs (three earned) on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts in five innings. His spring ERA now stands at 4.17 with a team-high 13 strikeouts in 15 1/3 innings.