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Ohlendorf could be done for season

The good news on right-hander Ross Ohlendorf is he will not need surgery to repair his sore upper back. The bad news is, he’s likely done for the season.

“I’ll definitely be ready by next year,” Ohlendorf said. “We don’t know about this season. They don’t know how quickly I’ll get better. I’m hoping I’ll make it back (this season), but there’s not much time left.”

An MRI exam today showed a strain to the latissimus dorsi/teres major muscles (in other words, the back of his shoulder).

“I’m very relieved with the diagnosis,” Ohlendorf said. “I was afraid it might be worse. It’s not a rotator cuff muscle and it’s not a tendon. To know I’m going to make a full recovery is very encouraging.”

The Pirates have not yet officially placed Ohlendorf on the disabled list, but that seems only a formality. The most likely candidate to join the rotation is righty Charlie Morton, who pitched last night for Triple-A Indianapolis.

Ohlendorf felt discomfort in his shoulder Monday during pregame warmups and it got worse quickly once his ramped up to full speed. He took himself out of the game against the Cardinals after facing just two batters.

“I was a little bit sorer than normal the past few days,” Ohlendorf said. “I was hoping it would go away once I warmed up. It started getting worse as I tried to pitch.”

Ohlendorf has no clue what caused the injury. It’s possible he slept on it wrong or made some awkward motion on or off the field.

It’s been a rough year for Ohlendorf, who’s suffered injuries to his lower back (which put him on the DL) and leg and also was struck in the head by a line drive.

“It’s definitely been the worst,” Ohlendorf said. “I’ve never been put on the DL twice in one season before.”

»»» The Pirates today officially signed 16-year-old pitcher Luis Heredia. GM Neal Huntington, Latin American scouting director Rene Gayo and scout Chino Valdez attended the ceremony in Mazatlan, Mexico. Heredia is expected to attend minor league spring training camp next and eventually begin his pro career with the rookie ball team in Bradenton, Fla.

»»» Daniel Moskos notched his 20th save Monday, becoming the first Double-A Altoona reliever to reach that mark since Matt Peterson got 29 saves in 2007.

»»» Chase d’Arnaud stole his 30th base Monday, becoming the first Altoona player to do that since Rajai Davis and Rich Thompson swiped 45 bats apiece in 2005.

Lineups for tonight’s game:

Cardinals (68-54) – 1. Brendan Ryan ss, 2. Jon Jay cf, 3. Albert Pujols 1b, 4. Matt Holliday lf, 5. Felipe Lopez 2b, 6. Yadier Molina c, 7. Pedro Feliz 3b, 8. Allen Craig rf, 9. Adam Wainwright (17-7, 2.06)

Pirates (41-84) – 1. Andrew McCutchen cf, 2. Jose Tabata lf, 3. Neil Walker 2b, 4. Garrett Jones 1b, 5. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 6. Ryan Doumit c, 7. Lastings Milledge rf, 8. Ronny Cedeno ss, 9. Paul Maholm (7-12, 4.92) lhp

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