Right-hander Ross Ohlendorf will make his first minor league rehab appearance tonight in a start for Class AAA Syracuse and could soon be replacing Taylor Jordan in the Nationals’ rotation.
Ohlendorf, who went on the disabled list Sunday with shoulder inflammation, is scheduled to throw roughly 65 pitches over four innings. It is no coincidence Ohlendorf’s rehab start comes on the same day Taylor Jordan starts for the Nationals.
Jordan, a rookie with a 3.76 ERA in seven starts, will soon hit his team-mandated innings limit. Jordan has thrown 131 innings between the minors and majors this season. Manager Davey Johnson said today Jordan will be shut down after he hits 155 innings, but it could come sooner – as soon as after tonight – depending how Jordan pitches tonight and how Ohlendorf’s arm feels after his rehab appearance.
“There’s really not a set limit on Jordan,” Johnson said. “It’ll be dependent on how he’s throwing and how Ohlendorf is.”
The key will be how Ohlendorf feels after his side session Tuesday. The strength of Ohlendorf’s arm will determine whether he needs another rehab start or not, Johnson said.
Johnson seemed unwilling to be specific about Jordan’s exact limit, perhaps in part to ease strain for Jordan.
“It’s mental games with pitchers,” Johnson said. “It really messed up [Stephen] Strasburg last year. I think Taylor is not thinking about, ‘What’s the number?’ We’ve explained to him, you’re in the rotation. We’re going to treat you like a regular pitcher. You’re going to go as far as you can go. If it looks like you’re losing it, we’re going to take you out.”
Ohlendorf will be eligible to come off the disabled list by the next time Jordan’s spot in the rotation comes up. He last pitcher Aug. 1 in Detroit, five days after he threw 114 pitches in a victory over the Mets. Ohlendorf’s velocity dipped to the mid-80s, about 10 mph lower than his typical fastball.