D.C.'s Baseball-Playing Intern

Pirates pitcher pitches in with Ag Department

By Chris Needham
|  Wednesday, Dec 16, 2009  |  Updated 11:15 AM EDT
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D.C.'s Baseball-Playing Intern

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Oh, sure. That strikeout is exciting, but does it beat the thrill of pushing papers around a desk?

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Who says that Washington isn't able to lure any starting pitchers?

One of 'em is showing up to work each day.  And the best part?  He's working for free.  That's just the kind of player the cheapskate Lerner family would want.

But he's not under contract with them.  He's playing on Tom Vilsack's team -- that's Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack.

Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Ross Ohlendorf isn't a ringer for the Department's softball team.  He's an intern.  And he's doing serious work.

He's working on a project that helps track outbreaks of cattle disease.  That's something that's important to him, says ABC, because his family owns 300 Longhorns at their Texas ranch.

Ohlendorf isn't your stereotypical meathead athlete.  He went to Princeton and has a degree in operations research and financial engineering, whatever that is. 

He told the site that he appreciates the perspective the internship gives him.  Although he enjoys what he's doing, it shows him how good he's got it in the majors, where he made a little over $400,000 last year.

In the meantime, he plugs away about 20 hours a week at the office, squeezing in time for workouts and spending time with his girlfriend, who lives and works in D.C.

So while he won't be pitching for the Nats next season, he's certainly well on his way to being the starting pitcher who's contributed the most in this city.

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