Pirates Notebook: Ohlendorf likely out for year
The Pirates formally completed the signing of 16-year-old pitcher Luis Heredia with a ceremony at a port in his native Mazatlan, Mexico. Left to right: general manager Neal Huntington, Mexican scouting supervisor Jesus "Chino" Valdez, Heredia and Latin American scouting director Rene Gayo.
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The Pirates appear to have lost pitcher Ross Ohlendorf for the season -- though neither the team nor the player has fully ruled out a return -- after an MRI Tuesday showed a strained lat muscle behind his right shoulder.
Asked when he might be ready to pitch, Ohlendorf replied, "By next season, for sure, after I build up the arm strength again and everything heals. There could be a start or two at the end [of the season], but the most important thing with an injury like this is to be careful."
The specific diagnosis was a strain of the latissimus dorsi/teres major muscles. There was no damage to any shoulder ligaments or the rotator cuff and, most important, no cause for surgery, Ohlendorf said the doctors told him.
"I'm very relieved with the diagnosis," Ohlendorf said. "I hadn't had anything like that. Didn't know what to expect. I was afraid it might be worse. To know I'm going to make a full recovery, pretty much without question, is really encouraging."
Manager John Russell said that the Pirates' doctors would have greater detail today, but Ohlendorf said no further tests were scheduled.
Ohlendorf reiterated he had felt discomfort "for a few days" leading to his start Monday, in which he lasted two batters.
"But I thought it was something I could play through," he said.
If Ohlendorf's season is over, it might be remembered as one of the unluckiest in franchise history: He is 1-11 with a 4.07 ERA, the first pitcher in Major League Baseball to have so few wins, that many losses and an ERA that low since the New York Mets' Anthony Young in 1993. Ohlendorf also missed April because of a back ailment and was struck by line drives in the head and leg.
"It's definitely my worst year," Ohlendorf said.
Jeff Karstens, the Pirates' scheduled start for tonight, was scratched late Tuesday night because of what Russell described as "arm fatigue." Russell said Karstens should be able to start next Tuesday in Chicago.
Daniel McCutchen will take Karstens' place tonight.
As for replacing Ohlendorf: He has not yet been placed on the disabled list, but that is expected today. He will be replaced in the short term by a bullpen arm from Class AAA Indianapolis, then likely someone else to take what would have been his next start Sunday in Milwaukee.
Best bet for the latter is Charlie Morton, who is 4-4 with a 3.83 ERA since being demoted in May. His turn was skipped last week because of a mildly sore elbow, but he pitched six scoreless innings Monday and would line up with the Sunday opening.
Russell declined to discuss possible replacements, but he did say of Morton's general performance: "He's made a lot of progress."
• Bryan Morris, the Pirates' top pitching prospect at Class AA Altoona, pitched in relief for the first time Tuesday and will remain in that role, director of player development Kyle Stark said, to keep his inning count -- now at 128 -- down.
• The Pirates completed the signing of pitcher Luis Heredia to a $2.6 million bonus with a ceremony in his native Mazatlan, Mexico. General manager Neal Huntington attended.
• Shortstop Ronny Cedeno has had "no problem" with the sore left shoulder that cost him eight recent starts.
First Published August 25, 2010 12:00 am