PHILADELPHIA -- Ross Ohlendorf sounded worse for wear as he stood in the middle of the Pirates' clubhouse on Tuesday.
The right-handed starter's voice was hoarse and he admitted to battling a cold, but that wasn't the reason for concern. In fact, despite a four-inning effort in which he yielded six runs -- four of which were earned -- on seven hits, Ohlendorf was actually optimistic.
"I wish Spring Training had gone better, but I feel as if I'm ready," said Ohlendorf, who only pitched into the fifth once in six spring starts. "I feel like tonight, that even though the results were similar to my other starts, I feel like I threw the ball much better.
"Where I didn't do well is I threw too many pitches. I felt that with the exception of a couple of at-bats, I wasn't getting hit as hard as I was in the last game, and the ball was coming out much better, and [catcher Ryan] Doumit did, too. I'm definitely heading in the right direction."
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"That's good because that's what he's been saying all spring," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "His next start we'll see where he takes it."
The Pirates certainly hope that Ohlendorf is right, since he's definitely a part of a rotation that will be surrounded by a relatively young but explosive team that needs quality starts from its pitchers once the season begins on Friday at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
"I've made some adjustments that really helped," said Ohlendorf, who finished the spring with a 9.83 ERA. "I just need to continue to improve, because I feel like I threw the ball better tonight.
"I think my command was much better and I was down in the strike zone more. I had too many long at-bats."
"I have no concerns or misgivings," Hurdle said. "He's in our starting rotation. I've seen guys have springs in which they didn't get anybody out, and when the season started they rolled right through it."