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Ogando puts starter preparation ahead of Classic

ARLINGTON -- Alexi Ogando said Friday that he originally planned on representing the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. And he did appear on his country's provisional roster Thursday.

But Ogando went to the Rangers, and they told him he would be in the starting rotation again, so he decided against it.

Ogando wants to have plenty of time to get ready this time. He was thrust into a starting role in 2011 late in Spring Training when Tommy Hunter started the season on the disabled list.

"It's a privilege to represent my country, and I was willing to do it," Ogando said through an interpreter. "I have two years without being a starter full-time, and I don't want to take a risk on anything. I want to be a starter."

Ogando made the All-Star team two seasons ago, starting the year with a 7-0 record and a 2.20 ERA. He finished at 13-8 with a 3.51 ERA. Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux said Ogando can be even better in his second stint in the rotation.

"As long as Alexi stays healthy, healthy, wealthy and wise, we'll be OK," Maddux said. "He's a special talent. He has that look. We're going to refine him a little more."