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.

The Mets expect Tim Tebow to come back next year

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Mets assistant general manager John Ricco told Newsday today that he expects minor league outfielder Tim Tebow to return for a third season in professional baseball.

Tebow, 31, broke the hamate bone in his right hand while swinging a bat in late July, ending his season. It was a fairly successful season for him all things considered. After being promoted to Double-A Binghamton to start the year he hit .273/.336/.399 with six home runs, a stolen base and a .734 OPS in 298 plate appearances and made the Double-A All-Star team. That’s not the stuff of a top prospect — he strikes out far too much and the power numbers aren’t fantastic given that power would figure to be his strongest tool — but it’s pretty respectable for a guy his age and with his relative lack of baseball experience. As I said back in July, you can believe the Mets’ interest in Tebow is more marketing than baseball, but that does not preclude you from giving the guy a deserved tip of the cap for working hard and sticking it out in the bush leagues.

Assuming he does come back, the Mets are likely to start him at Triple-A Syracuse in the hopes that he’d eventually get to the bigs as a late season callup if the Mets aren’t in contention. Indeed, many believed that was the plan for him this year had he not been injured.