Texas Rangers pitcher Alexi Ogando is not having a good week. First he was placed on the disabled list, and then came the news that the injured hurler had angered the team by not divulging his injury earlier.
The Rangers announced via Twitter that the 29-year-old right-hander was placed on the 15-day disabled list on May 16 because of biceps tendinitis:
Ogando had been pitching well as a starter this season, going 4-2 with a 3.08 ERA in nine starts before the injury.
Should the Rangers be concerned about Ogando's long-term health?
ESPN Dallas’ Todd Willis reported that Ogando took a no-hitter into the sixth inning of his last start against the Oakland A’s before leaving after complaining of soreness in his arm.
Although the pitcher had an MRI, Rangers manager Ron Washington told Willis, “It’s nothing. This could be workload.”
Ogando spent all of 2012 as a reliever with Texas and, with 49.2 frames under his belt so far this season, has already nearly matched last year’s total of 66 innings.
What has made Texas unhappy is that they recently discovered Ogando had been hurting prior to that last start but had not told the team’s coaches or medical staff.
The Dallas Morning News’ Evan Grant is reporting that during a meeting on Saturday, Ogando revealed to Washington that his arm had been bothering him leading up to the Oakland game. It was a revelation that angered his skipper.
Washington described his reaction to Grant:
He finally told me that when we were talking and I said ‘You can’t do that.’ He’s got a different workload this year. When you are a reliever and you only have to pitch an inning or so, you can pitch through some soreness, but when you are a starter, it’s a different situation. You can make it worse. It’s something that comes with experience. Now that he has the experience of going through this and knowing the situation, hopefully it won’t happen again. Thank God it wasn’t more serious.
Before the season started, Ogando was identified as a potential injury risk by FanGraphs.com’s Jeff Zimmerman because of his inconstant velocity and delivery.
Despite the solid numbers, Ogando had looked like a different pitcher before his trip to the disabled list. FanGraphs.com shows his average velocity has dipped more than four mph to a career-low 92.8 mph since last season. Additionally, he’s thrown his fastball a career-low 42.4 percent of the time, while mixing in his changeup a career-high 18.5 percent of his pitches.
Fortunately for Ogando and the Rangers, according to a separate article by Willis, the pitcher’s MRI showed no structural damage, and he could return sooner rather than later.
Washington told MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan that deactivating Ogando was a necessary step to preserve him for the remainder of the season. “He's a starting pitcher and he's taken on a big work load. Rather than letting this drag on, we're going to nip it in the bud and get it right. Otherwise, he'll take the ball and go back out there."
It appears that other than needing a little rest, Ogando has dodged the injury bullet for now. However, since he has proven to be less than forthcoming about his health, it’s a safe bet that the Rangers will be monitoring him closer than they ever have before.
Statistics via Baseball-Reference