Ross Ohlendorf

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Curtis Ross Ohlendorf

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Biographical Information[edit]

Ross Ohlendorf's high school coach was Keith Moreland, who convinced him to focus on baseball rather than basketball; Ohlendorf said in 2011 that he would have never picked baseball had it not been for Moreland.

Ohlendorf was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 4th round of the 2004 amateur draft. He was signed by scout Greg Lonigro and made his pro debut that summer.

He was traded to the New York Yankees as part of a deal for Randy Johnson in January 2007 and made his major league debut with the Yankees in September of that year, pitching 6 games out of the bullpen, and being used once in the Division Series against the Cleveland Indians.

He continued to pitch out of the Yankees' bullpen early in 2008, then was sent to the Pittsburgh Pirates at the trading deadline in the deal that netted the Yankees Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte and Pittsburgh Jeff Karstens and Jose Tabata. He was converted to a starter by the Pirates, making 5 starts with an 0-3 record and an ERA over 6.00 at the tail end of the 2008 season. He had a promising first full season as a starter in the majors in 2009, posting 11 wins and a 3.92 ERA in 29 starts; he improved as the season progressed and his ERA was an excellent 2.83 in 11 second-half starts. He had a very tough year in 2010 however. A victim of poor offensive support, he put up a won-loss record of 1-11 inspite of a decent 4.07 ERA, and was also limited to 21 starts because of back and shoulder problems. In spite of that poor record, he won his salary arbitration dispute with the Pirates the following off-season, being awarded the salary of $2.025 million he was seeking; the Pirates had offered $1.4 million.

Ross made only 9 starts for the Pirates in 2011, going 1-3 with an ERA of 8.15, spending the majority of the season on the disabled list with a shoulder injury after a pair of starts in early April. A rare highlight that year came on September 15th, when he hit his first career home run against Dana Eveland of the Los Angeles Dodgers, a three-run shot in a 6-2 win which proved to be his only one of the year. He signed as free agent with the Boston Red Sox after the season but was sent down to the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox, where he was 4-3, 4.61 in 10 starts. He received his free agency in early June, in order to sign with the San Diego Padres who needed him at the major league level. He pitched 13 times for San Diego, with 9 starts, putting up a record of 4-4 and a 7.77 ERA in 77 2/3 innings before being sent down to the AAA Tucson Padres at the end of August.

Ohlendorf moved to the Washington Nationals for 2013, and once again had to return to the minor leagues before getting another shot at the Show. With the AAA Syracuse Chiefs, he was 4-5, 4.27 in 13 games before getting a call-up on June 12th. That day, he started against the Colorado Rockies and was impressive, allowing only one run on two hits in 6 innings to earn the 5-1 win. He sported a new delivery on that occasion, with an exaggerated swing of both arms to bring them above his head and start his motion, a move that was common five or six decades earlier, but never seen in the 21st century.

Pitching for the Texas Rangers on May 22, 2015, he recorded his first career save, although it was not particularly easy. In only his third appearance for the Rangers, after being limited by injuries to only five minor league outings in 2014, he came into a game in the bottom of the 9th against the Yankees with Texas leading, 10-8. Facing the heart of the batting order, he struck out Alex Rodriguez for the first out but gave up a solo homer to Mark Teixeira to bring the Yankees within a run, then struck out Brian McCann for the second out. A walk to Chase Headley put the tying run aboard, but Stephen Drew hit a comebacker that deflected off him - but straight at 2B Tommy Field, who was able to relay to 1B Mitch Moreland to end the game.

He moved to the Cincinnati Reds in 2016 and on May 11th was ejected from a game against the Pirates for throwing at David Freese shortly after the Bucs had taken the lead in the 9th inning. He was also handed a three-game suspension.

Ohlendorf, a graduate of Princeton University with a degree in operations research and financial engineering, does not have the typical interests of a ballplayer. He claims to read history books to relax before starts and had an internship in the financial department of the University of Texas at Austin, located near his father's cattle ranch. In the 2009-10 off-season, he spent 10 weeks as an intern in the US Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC, doing cost analysis of programs to trace diseases in livestock. He got to meet First Lady Michelle Obama in this role, which he arranged through former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, a Pittsburgh native.

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