Ohlendorf thrilled to finally get opportunity

Rangers reliever works his way back from injuries

Ohlendorf thrilled to finally get opportunity

BOSTON -- Ross Ohlendorf was all but forgotten a month ago. He was a strong candidate to make the Rangers' pitching staff in Spring Training until he twice injured his right groin muscle and had to start the season in the Minor Leagues.

But Ohlendorf is over his leg injuries and on Tuesday night, he was pitching the eighth inning for the Rangers and trying to hold a 2-1 lead against the Red Sox. He pitched a scoreless inning before manager Jeff Banister summoned Shawn Tolleson in for the ninth to close it out.

"It was exciting," Ohlendorf said. "I think we're all going forward just to be ready at any time. I'm really glad [Banister] gave me a shot at pitching in that role."

This is Ohlendorf's eighth season in the Majors and the Rangers are his seventh organization. He has been traded, released, spent time on the disabled list and only once -- in 2009 -- did he spend an entire season in the Major Leagues.

The Rangers signed him in the offseason to a Minor League contract.

He is 32 years old, but his fastball averages 93.9 miles per hour. That's the third highest on the team behind Keone Kela (94.6) and Tanner Scheppers (94.4).

"You like the stuff he has, to begin with," Banister said. "He has a different delivery that is not easy to pick up. You add the velocity on his fastball and the different angle, and he's not afraid to throw it. Then there is the breaking ball and the changeup. He has three pitches and he is not afraid to throw him and not afraid to challenge you.

"I like the fact this guy has fought through a lot of different things."

Worth noting:

• Center fielder Leonys Martin has been bothered by a sprained left wrist for over two weeks and admitted he banged his left hand against the wall Wednesday making a terrific first-inning running catch.

Said Martin, "Yeah, when I hit the wall, I felt some kind of pinch in my wrist. I waited and the pain went away. If that happens, I still have to make the play. If I have to go into the wall, I've got to do it."

• Tolleson went 123 Major League appearances before getting his first save opportunity. That's the second longest since 1969, when saves became an official stat. Bruce Chen went 140 relief appearances before earning his first save.

• Banister hasn't officially named Phil Klein as his starter for Monday against the Indians, after he beat the Red Sox on Wednesday night. But Banister did say, "Phil Klein certainly did not hurt his chances of coming back and starting by how he performed last night. Really nice yard work."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.