Ross Ohlendorf became the 28th pitcher the Yankees have used this season, tying a team record set in 2005. He is the 10th to make his debut. Whoever imagined that would happen this season?
He retired the side in order, fanning Lyle Overbay with a nasty slider. Ohlendorf was converted to the bullpen about a month and a half ago. He dropped his curveball then and now throws only a fastball, slider and change. He’s also throwing his four-seam fastball more often.
“It’s a swing-and-miss pitch and you want to be aggressive when you come out of the bullpen,” he said.
Nobody was happier to see Ohlendorf than Joba Chamberlain. As the pitcher with the least service time, Joba had been required to haul the pink Yankees backpack full of candy, gum and tobacco to the bullpen before games. Now that duty falls to Ohlendorf.
Never mind that Joba is 21 and Ross is 25.
Ohlendorf didn’t seem to mind. After four years in the minors, he was with the Yankees.
“This is great, getting this chance,” he said. “I like coming out of the bullpen. My arm has responded pretty well. Maybe this is what my role should be.”
Joe Torre has said several times in the last few days how “interesting” Ohlendorf is. You have to wonder if they’ll try him in a pressure situation or two before the season is over.
“I told him to pound the strike zone and he did that,” Ron Guidry told me. “That was good. We have guys who don’t do that.”