Ohlendorf hoping for the chance to start

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Ohlendorf hoping for the chance to start

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- As if there weren't already enough contenders for the back end of the starting rotation, the Red Sox added one more Thursday morning: righthander Ross Ohlendorf, who signed a minor league deal with an invitation to big league camp.

Ohlendorf, 29, spent the last four seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 2009-2010 combined, he compiled a 3.98 ERA over 285 innings before struggling last season, going 1-3 with a 8.15 ERA as he battled shoulder concerns.

He had a "a lot" of offers over the winter, but chose the Red Sox for two primary reasons.

"I feel that, even though there's a lot of really good pitchers here, there's an opportunity for me here,'' said Ohlendorf. "And I feel like there's a real good opportunity to be on a really good team. That was something that really important to me.

"I felt like I wanted to go somewhere where I had a chance to win a World Series. It kind of came down to the fact that I thought this was the best opportunity. There have been a couple of injuries here (to starters such Daisuke Matsuzaka and John Lackey).''

Ohlendorf has pitched in both relief and in the rotation (64 career starts; 31 relief appearances), but here, his focus will be as a starter -- at least initially.

"They've told me I'll be a starter from the beginning,'' said Ohlendorf, "but the bullpen will always be a possibility. I prefer starting. If they think the bullpen is a better fit, I'm certainly happy to what they want. But I would prefer to start.''

He attributed his poor season to shoulder problems.

"It was mainly getting hurt,'' said Ohlendorf, who made two starts at the beginning of the season, then went to the DL and didn't pitch for Pittsburgh again until August. "Early in the season, I was maybe overthrowing and trying to do too much. Then, over the season, I missed too much time. When I came back, I feel like I had one really good start, but never really got in a groove.''

Ohlendorf said he has no physical restrictions this spring.

Bart Scott: Falcons have 'the better quarterback' in Super Bowl

Bart Scott: Falcons have 'the better quarterback' in Super Bowl

Former Ravens and Jets linebacker - now an "NFL Today" analyst for CBS - Bart Scott usually "can't wait" to make his disdain for Tom Brady and the Patriots known. 

He was back at it Tuesday in an interview with CBS Radio's Damon Amendolara, in which he said the Falcons have the better quarterback heading into Super Bowl LI.

“We know they’re the better offense, and right now, you could say they got the better quarterback because they have the MVP of the league,” Scott said. Ryan is the favorite to win the NFL MVP, which will be announced the night before the Super Bowl at the "NFL Honors" show.

“Now that’s a debate, but Matt Ryan has earned the right for his name to be put up there with the upper-echelon quarterbacks," Scott said. "He’s always been elite in the regular season, but now he’s taken this show into the postseason and he’s won the hard battles against the elite quarterbacks and now you have to give him his due.”

More from Scott: “I can’t see the Patriots stopping this offense. So, that means that these receivers are going to have to [keep] pace. It’s all going to come down to what it always comes down to. It’s going to come down to who makes the turnovers, who gets up early and puts the pressure on the other team. Matt Ryan and that offense showed me a lot when they went behind [in the divisional round against the Seahawks]. Seattle came and busted them in the face, and [Atlanta] went right back down and answered immediately.

"The Patriots always find a way, but I think it makes it more close of a game than what people think.”

Tuesday, Jan. 24: Crosby, Matthews top coaches' poll

Tuesday, Jan. 24: Crosby, Matthews top coaches' poll

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while rooting for “Manchester By the Sea” to upset some favorites at the Oscars.

*Sidney Crosby and Auston Matthews top the annual NHL coaches' poll produced by TSN Insider Bob McKenzie.

*The oral history of Fox’s glowing puck used for the NHL during their run with the league is an entertaining one.

*Mike Babcock gives pep talks to the reporters along with his own players while running the show in Toronto.

*The Vegas Golden Knights are moving forward with their timetable toward hiring a coach with some good candidates out there now, and some other ones potentially available soon. I’ve wondered if Claude Julien would be interested in that spot if he’s let go by the Bruins this season, but the one sure thing is that he wouldn’t be out of work long if he is relieved of his duties.

*Claude Giroux needs to start playing a little more fearlessly and without dwelling on mistakes, according to his general manager.

*Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill doesn’t believe that fancy stats and analytics have had a major impact on the way the Wings do things.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has the rundown on a Millenial’s dream of performers at the 2017 NHL All-Star Game: Nick Jonas, Fifth Harmony and Carly Rae Jepsen.

*For something completely different: keeping an eye on the notion that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is going to run for President.