Ohlendorf shows old form in debut

Ohlendorf shows old form in debut

PITTSBURGH -- Lost in Ronny Cedeno's heroics and the bullpen's valiant effort on Wednesday night was an encouraging start to the season by right-hander Ross Ohlendorf. The results weren't stellar, but considering some of the issues Ohlendorf had this spring, they were much improved.

Spring Training performances are hardly ever an accurate harbinger for what's to come in the regular season, but the flatness of Ohlendorf's pitches last month, and the inconsistency with his fastball command, did raise some eyebrows.

That changed on Wednesday. Ohlendorf's start lasted only five innings, but he showed encouraging life to his fastball and maintained a velocity close to where it was at the end of 2009. It wasn't the same dominance that the Pirates saw from Ohlendorf in the second half of last season, but, if nothing else, it was a step back in the right direction.

"I felt like I was getting back the feeling that I had last year, just in terms of how the ball was coming out of my hand," Ohlendorf said afterward. "I felt like it had some life on it."

Ohlendorf breezed through his first two innings and worked out of minor trouble in the next two. He gave up three runs (two earned) to the Dodgers in the fifth, which lasted a lengthy 27 pitches.

"I felt like I pitched well until the fifth inning," Ohlendorf said. "The home run didn't really bother me because we were up at the time. It was giving up hits with runners in scoring position that I was disappointed with."