It seems so long ago that Ross Ohlendorf took the mound for the Pirates that sometimes I almost forgot all about him. Many had hoped that he would take a huge step forward this season and be a strong part of the Pirates rotation. Instead he struggled early and got hurt early. Luckily for the Pirates, Jeff Karstens stepped in and is having a career year, pitching better than what we could have hoped from Ohlendorf.
With Ross set to make a start in Altoona this weekend, he is not that far from Pittsburgh geographically and figuratively. When he does come back, how do they use him? Put him in the rotation? Who comes out of it? Do they go to six men? Does he go to the bullpen? If so how is he used?
I don't see how you could pull a guy out of the rotation to insert Ross. They have all pitched well all season and it would not be fair to the pitchers involved. The team could go unconventional and go with a six man staff, having Ohlendorf give others a day off, while saving their arms for the drive to the finish line.
Perhaps he will go to the bullpen and be another back end arm. Many have predicted that was were he would end up eventually and perhaps that is correct. Lasting into games always seems to be an issue with Ross and perhaps he could be that 7th inning guy or the longer arm in the pen.
No matter what happens when he comes back, it will be an interesting predicament that it will put Neal Huntington and Clint Hurdle in. How do you use him and where?