Pirates right-hander Ross Ohlendorf likely done for 2010

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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.

Bud Norris exits outing with right knee soreness

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Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.

While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.

 

When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.

Video: Max Scherzer sets record with 13-strikeout outing

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Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.

More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.

Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)

It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.