Ohlendorf's Splitter A Work In Progress

It wasn't a banner year for Ross Ohlendorf in 2007, going just 3-3 with a 5.02 ERA after a solid 2006 campaign in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization. Moving to the bullpen halfway through the season to make better use of his power arm, the Yankees have him in the Arizona Fall League to develop a splitter to give him another swing-and-miss pitch.

"It's going well," Ross Ohlendorf said of the Arizona Fall League. "The main thing I'm working on is the splitter and being quicker to the plate. It's going pretty well [the splitter]. I didn't start throwing it until I got here. It's been pretty good, definitely a lot better than I thought it would be so quickly."

Hidden behind his disappointing numbers this past season was the fact he has transformed his game from primarily a sinker-ball starting pitcher all of his life to more of a power arm coming out of the bullpen for the Yankees, which has also included learning a new delivery, scrapping certain pitches, and adding new ones.

"There aren't a lot of differences," he said of starting versus relieving. "You don't need to throw quite the variation of pitches and you don't have to worry about pitch counts as much out of the bullpen.

"The main adjustments has been physically how my arm bounces back. It took just a few weeks to get used to that. At this point I think I'm pretty well suited to pitch out the bullpen."

Armed with a sinking two-seam fastball, a curveball, and a changeup as a starting pitcher, the Yankees incorporated more four-seam fastballs into his repertoire this past season.

Trying to make better use of his power arm, they also took away his curveball and had him develop a slider instead, and now he's in the Arizona Fall League to develop a splitter in lieu of his changeup to give him another strikeout pitch.

"That would be the main point but it's probably not there right now but hopefully it will be," he said of his current splitter. "I've heard it takes guys a few years to get it usually.

"I've only been throwing it for three or four weeks and given that, I'm pretty happy with how it's going. It hasn't been that hard for me but it's still not a finished pitch either."

Joining the Peoria Javelinas a bit later than most because he was part of the New York Yankees' playoff roster this year, he has done well in limited action, posting a 1.35 ERA through his first five appearances in the Arizona Fall League.

Scheduled for just one more appearance before shutting it down for the offseason, he knew he had to make the most of his opportunities when he stepped on to the mound.

"It's a pretty short league," said the 25-year old. "It's a good league but you don't get a lot of time, so each time you go out, if you've got something to work on, you've got to make sure you take advantage of each inning you get."

Realizing that isn't a lot of time to make dramatic changes to his game, he is quite satisfied with the development of his newest pitch so far and he hopes to be a different pitcher out of the bullpen in 2008.

"In New York it was fastball, slider, and changeup," he said of his repertoire, "and for next year hopefully it will be the splitter instead of the changeup.

"I don't think I've struck anybody out with it yet but I've gotten some swing-and-misses with it and that's a good start."

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\r\n \r\n\r\n\"It's going well,\" Ross Ohlendorf said of the Arizona Fall League. \"The main thing I'm working on is the splitter and being quicker to the plate. It's going pretty well [the splitter]. I didn't start throwing it until I got here. It's been pretty good, definitely a lot better than I thought it would be so quickly.\"
\r\n
\r\nHidden behind his disappointing numbers this past season was the fact he has transformed his game from primarily a sinker-ball starting pitcher all of his life to more of a power arm coming out of the bullpen for the Yankees, which has also included learning a new delivery, scrapping certain pitches, and adding new ones.
\r\n
\r\n\"There aren't a lot of differences,\" he said of starting versus relieving. \"You don't need to throw quite the variation of pitches and you don't have to worry about pitch counts as much out of the bullpen.
\r\n
\r\n\"The main adjustments has been physically how my arm bounces back. It took just a few weeks to get used to that. At this point I think I'm pretty well suited to pitch out the bullpen.\"
\r\n
\r\nArmed with a sinking two-seam fastball, a curveball, and a changeup as a starting pitcher, the Yankees incorporated more four-seam fastballs into his repertoire this past season.
\r\n
\r\nTrying to make better use of his power arm, they also took away his curveball and had him develop a slider instead, and now he's in the Arizona Fall League to develop a splitter in lieu of his changeup to give him another strikeout pitch.
\r\n
\r\n\"That would be the main point but it's probably not there right now but hopefully it will be,\" he said of his current splitter. \"I've heard it takes guys a few years to get it usually.
\r\n
\r\n\"I've only been throwing it for three or four weeks and given that, I'm pretty happy with how it's going. It hasn't been that hard for me but it's still not a finished pitch either.\"
\r\n
\r\nJoining the Peoria Javelinas a bit later than most because he was part of the New York Yankees' playoff roster this year, he has done well in limited action, posting a 1.35 ERA through his first five appearances in the Arizona Fall League.
\r\n
\r\nScheduled for just one more appearance before shutting it down for the offseason, he knew he had to make the most of his opportunities when he stepped on to the mound.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's a pretty short league,\" said the 25-year old. \"It's a good league but you don't get a lot of time, so each time you go out, if you've got something to work on, you've got to make sure you take advantage of each inning you get.\"
\r\n
\r\nRealizing that isn't a lot of time to make dramatic changes to his game, he is quite satisfied with the development of his newest pitch so far and he hopes to be a different pitcher out of the bullpen in 2008.
\r\n
\r\n\"In New York it was fastball, slider, and changeup,\" he said of his repertoire, \"and for next year hopefully it will be the splitter instead of the changeup.
\r\n
\r\n\"I don't think I've struck anybody out with it yet but I've gotten some swing-and-misses with it and that's a good start.\"
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

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\r\n

\r\n

Become an annual subscriber today!

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