Ross Ohlendorf signed on with the Reds toward the end of spring training last year after opting out of his deal with the Royals, and remained healthy enough to appear in a personal-high 64 games. He bounced around between the middle and back-end of the bullpen, and he showed some obvious improvements (posting personal-best marks with 9.3 K/9 and an average fastball velocity of 93.9 mph) now as a full-time reliever as opposed to the beginning of his career when he worked out of the rotation. That said, he also posted 4.4 BB/9 and 1.9 HR/9 that resulted in his final ERA clocking in at 4.66. He'll be 34 years old to open up the 2017 season, and though he could benefit from staying healthy and becoming more accustomed to a relief role, it's unlikely he'll experience significant improvement. He's decided to try his luck overseas in 2017.
Ohlendorf signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows, the Japan Times reports. Ohlendorf struggled with a 4.66 ERA for the Reds last season in 64 games out of the bullpen. At age 34 next season, he may finish his career in Japan.
Ohlendorf retired one batter to earn his second save of the year Friday against the Brewers. After Reds' closer Tony Cingrani had allowed one run and loaded the bases with two outs, Ohlendorf came on to protect a one-run lead, and promptly got Ryan Braun to pop out to end the game. The Reds' setup man now has a 4.04 ERA to go along with a 1.25 WHIP on the season.
Ohlendorf allowed two hits, but he recorded his first save of the season in a 2-1 victory over the Athletics. The Reds bullpen has been atrocious and leads have been hard to come by for Cincinnati, so it's hard for owners to justify carrying a Reds relief pitcher. Ohlendorf has been used mostly as a middle reliever, but he could see more save opportunities moving forward. He is 1-for-2 in save chances with a 4.32 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 28 strikeouts in 27.2 innings this season.
Ohlendorf won the appeal of his suspension and fine from the incident on May 11 and will have both revoked, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports. Ohlendorf was initially handed a three-game suspension after hitting Pirates third baseman David Freese with a pitch after both benches had been warned, although it seems that Major League Baseball found his case to be satisfactory enough to revoke the sentence. With the appeal process out of the way, the right-hander should continue to act as the setup man in the Cincinnati bullpen.
Ohlendorf was served a three-game suspension on Friday but he will appeal, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports. Ohlendorf was ejected from Wednesday's game in the ninth inning after hitting Pirates third baseman David Freese with a pitch after the benches had already been warned. He will appeal the suspension, meaning the suspension will be delayed, but if the suspension ultimately sticks, Black Wood or Caleb Cotham could fill into the setup role in the bullpen.