Aug 24, 2010, 6:30 PM EDT
An MRI Tuesday showed a significant strain in the muscles of Ross Ohlendorf’s upper back, likely putting the Pirates hurler on the shelf for the rest of 2010.
Ohlendorf felt discomfort in the back of his throwing shoulder during his start Monday and took himself out of the game against the Cardinals after he faced just two batters. While he’s probably done for the rest of the year, he was pleased with the news.
“I’m very relieved with the diagnosis,” Ohlendorf told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I was afraid it might be worse. It’s not a rotator cuff muscle and it’s not a tendon. To know I’m going to make a full recovery is very encouraging.”
If he’s done, Ohlendorf will finish the season with a 1-11 record to go along with a plenty respectable 4.07 ERA in 21 starts. Except for his win-loss record, all of his numbers were about the same as they were a year ago, when he went 11-10 with a 3.92 ERA in 176 2/3 innings. His walk rate jumped, but his strikeout rate also increased a bit and his home run rate dropped.
So, obviously, it’s hardly all his fault. The Pirates scored two runs or fewer in 13 of his 21 starts, including his lone victory. He pitched seven scoreless innings to beat the Phillies in a 2-0 game on July 2.
Despite the poor record, Ohlendorf is probably the closest thing the Pirates have to a lock to open next season in the rotation. Paul Maholm could be traded this winter, and Zach Duke might be dealt or non-tendered. Other rotation candidates will include James McDonald, Jeff Karstens, Daniel McCutchen and Brad Lincoln. Charlie Morton, who is likely to replace Ohlendorf now, is another possibility. The Pirates figure to add at least one veteran to the mix over the winter.
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