Ogando takes long road to Majors
Right-hander spent years stuck in Dominican Republic
MILWAUKEE -- Alexi Ogando, after being converted from an outfielder to a pitcher and then being stuck in the Dominican Republic for five years, finally achieved his dream Saturday.He was called up to the Major Leagues. "It's definitely a very special, amazing, surprising day for me," Ogando said. Ogando was called up after posting a 2.05 ERA in 18 games at Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Oklahoma City. Opponents are hitting .130 off him with 11 walks and 42 strikeouts in 30 2/3 innings. He pitched two scoreless innings in his last appearance Thursday against Albuquerque. "He's a guy we want to take a look at," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "He's throwing the ball well. Despite his limited experience, he's a strike-thrower who hides the ball well. This is an opportunity to look at him." Ogando originally signed with Oakland as an outfielder but was converted to a pitcher in 2004. The Rangers, because of the scouting work of A.J. Preller and Mike Daly, took him from the Athletics in the Minor League phase of the December 2005 Rule 5 Draft. But that was also about the time he got caught up in a visa fraud scandal in the Dominican Republic. Part of his punishment was not being able to enter the United States for five years. Omar Beltre was in the same predicament. Ogando was limited to pitching in the Dominican Summer League until the Rangers, under the work of assistant general manager Thad Levine and scout Danilo Troncoso, were able to get the situation resolved so Ogando and Beltre could come to the United States. Now Ogando is finally in the big leagues. "There were always times when I had some doubts, felt really down and lost hope," Ogando said. "But I kept praying to God that he would help me with my career, and now look where I am."
Young nears Pudge's record for hits
MILWAUKEE -- Third baseman Michael Young went into Saturday's game with the Brewers needing three hits to tie the Rangers' all-time hit record. Young has 1,744 hits, with only Ivan Rodriguez, with 1,747 hits, in front of him."I'm really not thinking about it," Young said. "It would be nice to get it over with, but I like to think eventually I will get it. Wrapping up 200 hits in a season is a little tougher, because the clock is ticking on that. "I'm not trying to diminish how special it will be, but I'm focused on what's more important teamwise." Young is charging at the record. He went into Saturday's game with seven hits in his last 12 at-bats, and he was hitting .385 in his last 26 games to raise his average from .282 to .327. That puts him seventh in the American League. "I try not to change my approach," Young said. "I make my minor adjustments daily, but I feel if I stay consistent in my approach, I feel like I will stay locked in longer and snap out of being uncomfortable a little easier."
Rangers in trade market for pitcher, bat
MILWAUKEE -- The Rangers, in exploring trade talks with other teams, are actively looking for starting pitching help. Texas is interested in a right-handed bat but has made it clear that starting pitching is a bigger priority right now.The Rangers are having trouble holding their starting rotation together. Rich Harden was placed on the disabled list Saturday with a strained left gluteus muscle. The Rangers already have Derek Holland (shoulder inflammation) on the disabled list and are not sure who will pitch Saturday against the Astros. The club is looking for starting pitching but remains shackled by what it can do financially until the ownership situation is resolved. The issue is in federal bankruptcy court with a hearing scheduled for Tuesday in Fort Worth, Texas. A right-handed bat is also on the Rangers' list, and they have told the Red Sox that they are still interested in Mike Lowell. But he would have to come cheaply. The Rangers don't want to give up much for a player who would be a right-handed pinch-hitter and backup first baseman, and hasn't been happy in that role in Boston. Indications from Boston are that the Red Sox are undecided what to do about Lowell, who is not getting much playing time behind first baseman Kevin Youkilis, third baseman Adrian Beltre and designated hitter David Ortiz. There is some sentiment toward keeping him and some sentiment toward giving him away. The Rangers could not take on his salary.
Matt Treanor was behind the plate Saturday, but manager Ron Washington said the plan is for Max Ramirez to start Sunday. ... Rangers relievers, going into Saturday's game, had retired 16 straight hitters over their last three games. ... Vladimir Guerrero has a 10-game hitting streak. The Rangers have five players who have hit safely in at least 10 straight games this season. That's the most of any team in the Majors.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.