08/01/11 6:53 PM ET
Ohlendorf steadily improving
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
Ohlendorf threw 73 pitches in a five-inning start for Indianapolis on Friday. It was Ohlendorf's first outing with Indianapolis and fourth since his Minor League rehab stint began. Assuming Ohlendorf takes additional steps forward in his next outing, he'll likely be ready to rejoin the Pirates immediately after.
"There were still some bright spots and some things to still work on," manager Clint Hurdle said of Ohlendorf's last outing. "The breaking ball was a work in progress, but improving. The mechanics, the repeating of delivery were in better shape."
It's unknown whether the Pirates plan to bring Ohlendorf back in a starting or relief role.
Wild year for Lee continues
PITTSBURGH -- Derrek Lee stepped to the podium in the PNC Park press conference room on Monday wearing his fourth different uniform in the last calendar year. It's been quite the whirlwind experience for a veteran player who, during one 13-year stretch, played for only two different teams.
"My head is spinning, I think," Lee joked, shortly after moving his family from Baltimore to Pittsburgh. "I had to look and check and see what color I'm wearing. It has been crazy. But I knew when I signed a one-year deal this year that there was a good chance I could be moved this year at the Deadline. It wasn't necessarily unexpected."
While being traded wasn't entirely unexpected, coming to Pittsburgh was, Lee admitted. After spending seven years with the Cubs, Lee got used to seeing the Pirates trade away players at this time of the year.
But he said he noticed things were changing in Pittsburgh last year -- "They had some great arms coming out of the bullpen," Lee said -- and noticed that steps were still being taken in the right direction when he faced the Pirates in an Interleague series in June.
Now, Lee joins a team in a pennant race, just as he did last August when the Cubs dealt him to Atlanta.
"They're making a push," said Lee, who batted fourth in his Pirates debut. "We're within striking distance. As a player, when you have a shot at the postseason, that makes it more exciting coming down the stretch."
Lee, who is wearing No. 25, was joined by Ryan Ludwick, another new acquisition, on Monday. Ludwick was not able to address the media prior to the club's game against the Cubs because he arrived from San Diego so close to game time. Inserted in to start in left field, Ludwick batted fifth and took uniform No. 36.
Hurdle puts Lee, Ludwick No. 4, 5 in order
PITTSBURGH -- Derrek Lee and Ryan Ludwick were welcomed to Pittsburgh by finding themselves smack dab in the heart of the Pirates' lineup. And they can expect to stay there.
As manager Clint Hurdle tinkered with the idea of various batting orders, he settled on moving Andrew McCutchen back up to the leadoff spot. McCutchen hit first from mid-April until the end of May before Hurdle felt compelled to move the center fielder down in the order where he could be more of a run producer.
But the Pirates have not had a good fit in the leadoff spot since Alex Presley joined Jose Tabata on the disabled list this month. And until one of the two returns -- and that will likely be at least another two weeks -- McCutchen will be the table setter.
"I talked with Andrew and we decided to reset this trap and have him lead off today, now that we have added the other two bats," Hurdle said. "I think it's a move that is more seamless than before. Now maybe we can get him back in a position where he becomes one of our biggest run scorers."
Lee and Ludwick will be regulars in the middle of the order, where they will provide protection to second baseman Neil Walker. Their presence also allows Pedro Alvarez to slide further down in the lineup while he continues to develop.
"We've got the people that we believe can help us move forward and help us stay competitive and help us win ballgames and stay in the hunt," Hurdle said. "Right now, I think we have been able to bring a little better balance to the lineup. I think it's a winning lineup."
Manager Clint Hurdle said the hope is to have Jose Tabata (left quad strain) head out on a Minor League rehab assignment in the "near future." Tabata has had no setbacks since resuming running and light workouts on the road trip. He has been sidelined since June 26.
Ryan Doumit is scheduled to catch nine innings in back-to-back games beginning on Monday. He has not caught on consecutive days since beginning his rehab work with Triple-A Indianapolis. Doumit, who is batting 3-for-18 in six Triple-A games, could be cleared to return to the Pirates before the end of the homestand.
Chase d'Arnaud (fractured right pinky finger) is still unable to throw without some discomfort. He is hopeful he will be able to resume some baseball activities later in the week.
Neil Walker's .366 batting average during July ranked second among all National League players. Only Florida's Emilio Bonifacio had a higher one.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.