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Spring training rarities

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PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Here’s something you don’t see often in spring training games: an intentional walk.

The Pirates trailed 7-1 in the fourth inning when right-hander Ross Ohlendorf faced Carlos Pena with one out and a runner at third base. Pena already had smacked a two-run homer and grounded out. Catcher Ryan Doumit stuck out his arm, and Pena took four balls.

“To set up the double play,” Ohlendorf explained. “And to practice throwing intentional walks, too. I mean, they (the Rays) practiced the squeeze when they were up by five, so …”

That’s another spring training rarity, especially for an American League club. The Rays had runners at first and third with one out in the second inning, when Gabe Kapler dropped down a bunt. Ohlendorf snagged the ball on the run and threw to Doumit to force Pat Burrell at the plate.

“It’s nice to do it,” Ohlendorf said. “We practice squeezes all the time in PFPs, but rarely get them in a game. I’m glad I was able to make a good play. Every out was important to me at the time.”

– Ohlendorf wound up allowing eight runs on 10 hits in four innings, as the Rays rolled to an 8-2 win. That’s two straight awful outings by Ohlendorf, the No. 2 guy in the rotation, and boosted his ERA to 9.82.

“My slider needs to improve, both the action and the location,” Ohlendorf said. “With my fastball, it’s mainly just command. I feel good. I’m encouraged it will come around. I just hope it comes around in my next two starts. My changeup’s been good. My slider has kind of been following its normal path. It’s usually good the first one or two games, then it’s bad for a little while.”

– Closer Octavio Dotel showed no mercy in his one inning. He faced four batters and threw a total of 10 pitches (seven strikes). It’s encouraging to see him dominate a major league team after starting out equally strong in minor league games. “

Dotel also is scheduled to pitch Monday against Houston. It will be his first back-to-back outings this spring.

“There is not a weak enemy,” Dotel said. “In my mind, they’re all hard to get (out). Everybody is the same.”

– Sunday’s other split-squad game against the Phillies in Clearwater was rained out. Long reliever D.J. Carrasco was slated to start that game, so the rainout will not affect the starting rotation’s setup.

– Paul Maholm will start Monday against Houston and throw six innings/90 pitches. Javier Lopez (one inning), Brian Bass (one inning), Anthony Claggett, Jeff Karstens and Jeremy Powell also are scheduled to pitch.

– The Pirates will work out at 1 p.m. Sunday at PNC Park before the season opener. The Los Angeles Dodgers might be a bit weary for their 3 p.m. workout on Sunday. They’re scheduled to arrive in Pittsburgh around 1 a.m. Sunday, after playing an exhibition against the Angels on Saturday afternoon at Dodger Stadium.

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