Braves, Ogando agree to Minor League deal
ATLANTA -- Former All-Star Alexi Ogando will come to Spring Training with a strong chance to begin the upcoming season as a member of Atlanta's bullpen.
The Braves have signed Ogando to a Minor League deal and provided him a Spring Training invite, according to a Major League source. The 32-year-old right-handed reliever will have an early April opt-out clause, similar to the one Atlanta provides all of its non-roster invitees. The club has not confirmed the deal.
Over the past month, the Braves have taken a buy-low approach by providing Minor League deals to Ogando, David Carpenter and Jhoulys Chacin. While Chacin will come to camp with a chance to join the rotation, Ogando and Carpenter could both land bullpen spots if they regain the successful form they had in the past.
Ogando posted a 3.99 ERA, allowing opponents to produce a .325 on-base percentage over 64 appearances with the Red Sox in 2015. The righty allowed right-handed hitters to bat .265 with a .359 OBP. He was more successful against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .206 batting average and a .271 OBP.
After producing a 1.30 ERA in 44 appearances during his 2010 rookie season with the Rangers, Ogando earned his only All-Star selection the following summer. He produced a 3.34 ERA and struck out 19.1 percent of the batters he faced over 112 appearances with Texas from '11-13. But he then struggled while posting a 6.84 ERA over the 27 appearances he made during an injury-marred '14 season.
As things stand, the Braves hope to begin the season with a bullpen that will include Jason Grilli, Arodys Vizcaino, Jim Johnson, Chris Withrow and left-hander Evan Rutckyj, who was selected in the Rule 5 Draft. Ogando and Carpenter provide some of the insurance needed to protect against the uncertainty surrounding Grilli, who is returning from a ruptured left Achilles tendon, and Shea Simmons, who will not return from Tommy John surgery until May.