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Olsen's Surgery Is A Success, And Other Notes

The Washington Nationals, as of Thursday morning, hoped injured pitcher Scott Olsen could be ready for spring training 2010. But they didn't know.

Surgery Thursday on Olsen's left shoulder, then, confirmed a best-case scenario: Team doctor Wiemi Douoguih repaired a small tear of Olsen's left labrum and saw no further damage. Douoguih had said before the surgery that, in about 10 percent of similar cases, surgery reveals more extensive shoulder problems.

"Olsen's surgery went well," acting general manager Mike Rizzo said. "As little damage as could be expected was in there. Sometimes you go in there and you find some stuff that was unexpected. This was all expected, and it's as minimal as can be."

As a result, the Nationals expect Olsen to begin a throwing program within six to eight weeks. Though Olsen has no chance of returning to the mound this season, Rizzo said that Olsen will be ready for spring training. Whether the Nationals retain him is a different matter. Olsen, who went 2-4 with a 6.03 ERA in 11 starts, is making $2.8 million this season. Based on arbitration rules, Olsen in 2010 can make no less than 80 percent of his current salary, $2.24 million. If the Nationals don't find that salary palatable, they can non-tender him, as they did last year with highly-paid closer Chad Cordero, who underwent a far more serious shoulder surgery. Complicating the decision: The Nationals have 11 starting pitchers on their 40-man roster, not counting Olsen.

Asked about Olsen's future with the organization, Rizzo said, without expanding, "We've got a long ways before we have to make those decisions."

*

Contrary to what Rizzo said in a radio interview earlier this month, the Nationals are willing to trade cleanup hitter Adam Dunn before the July 31 trade deadline. But that doesn't mean a trade is likely. The Nationals have listened to a few offers for Dunn, a club source said, but are not actively shopping him. The Nationals are said to be demanding excessively high returns for Dunn. One source called the Nationals' asking price "painful."

Outfielder Josh Willingham remains the most sought-after player on the Washington roster, and is probably the most likely to get dealt.

*

In the first half of the season, Anderson Hernandez started 55 games at second base, almost two out of every three games. But since Jim Riggleman took over as manager, Hernandez hasn't started once -- a telling change. Asked recently about whether he thinks anybody on his current roster is capable of becoming a full-time starting second baseman, Riggleman mentioned Alberto Gonzalez, and added that Ronnie Belliard needs some playing time, too. He did not mention Hernandez.

*

This week's Minor League Report, courtesy of Bill Gluvna.

MLR 7-22-09.pdf

*

An addendum, based on one of the comments below about "successful surgery." This is one of my favorite sports columns of all time.

By Chico Harlan  |  July 23, 2009; 6:15 PM ET
 
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Comments

Olsen's surgery a success ... looming trades perhaps with tonight's team?

Posted by: periculum | July 23, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

"Douoguih had said before the surgery that, in about 10 percent of similar cases, surgery reveals more extensive shoulder problems."

Oh no, he's doomed!

Posted by: Section506 | July 23, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Wise that Rizzo would make no comment on the future of Olsen at this early stage. He remains a valuable asset unless and until he proves otherwise, or an offer they can't refuse is made. See you Viera Scotty.

Posted by: cokedispatch | July 23, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

... big congrats to Mark Buehrle for today's perfecto!

... now about the future of Scotty Olson: I just hope the bottom-of-the-screen ticker I saw yesterday didn't know something I didn't when it told me "Marlin's SP Scott Olson will undergo season ending surgery". Maybe somebody somewhere wants him back, or else just doesn't want to be caught spelling out the name 'Nationals'.

Go Nats!!

Posted by: natscanreduxit | July 23, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

... sorry Scott. That of course, was supposed to be "Olsen".

Posted by: natscanreduxit | July 23, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

All this talk of trading Dunn. Why now? Why not next year when his contract is up? For that matter if he continues to hit at a 40 HR pace, why not just keep him? Let him play 1st. Works for me.

Posted by: thegraneys | July 23, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Dr. Douoguih knows his stuff. Olsen fans shouldn't be worried about that part, anyway

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 23, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

sure periculum, here's your trade scenario...
--------------------
That's it, lowcountry: The entire Nationals 25-man active roster for Pujols. Brilliant!!
The Cardinals have to release around 20 of them (say they keep Dunn, Lannan & RZim, & stash Stammen, Burnett & Morgan in the minors).
The Nationals then just bulk promote teams up one level, and backfill off of the StL waiver list.
I've just taken Bowdonist logic to its extreme - Amazing & stupid at the same instant.

Posted by: BinM | July 23, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: BinM | July 23, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Not picking on Chico, but aren't these surgeries always termed "a success" in their immediate aftermath. I seem to recall that each and every one of Patterson and Hill's surgeries were termed successful. We've had plenty of these updates over the last five years and I can't recall a single one where the surgeon or the GM came back and said "Nope, the surgery failed, this guy will never be the same again and his major league career may very well be over."

Posted by: NTPNate | July 23, 2009 6:46 PM | Report abuse

WHOA. STOP. There's milkshakes?? Why wasn't I informed?

***************************
1a ... have you tried the Gifford's milkshake at the stadium? Worth every stadium-inflated cent they charge.

Posted by: ihatewalks | July 23, 2009 3:41 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 23, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

NTPNate, I think they do use that to mean "he didn't die on the table."
I do seem to recall someone (Drese? I forget now) getting shoulder surgery and they found way more damage than they were expecting.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 23, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

NTPNate, check out the above column. Your comment reminded me of it, and I wanted to share. Trust me, no offense taken. I am merely following the long and decorated tradition of sports scribes writing news stories about successful surgeries. Little known guild rule, but they don't even let you collect a pension unless you've written three of them.

Posted by: Chico Harlan | July 23, 2009 6:59 PM | Report abuse

I posted this in another forum. I present it here, in slightly modified form, and with apologies to the great Bobby Sherman.


Balester up tonight makes me sad, yo
Sure he's good, but I'm just sayin'
Watchin' him pitchin' will make me start btchin'
and moanin' all through the game

Whoa, whoa
Jordan, Jordan, Jordan, how's your right arm?
Jordan, Jordan, Jordan, can you go?
Jordan, Jordan, did you do some real harm?
Jordan, Jordan, how is your elbow?

You did so much good
On that mound
I was sure that you were fine
But news from McCatty
Is drivin' me batty
It's got me posting songs online

Whoa, whoa
Jordan, Jordan, Jordan, how you feeling?
Jordan, Jordan, Jordan, can you go?
Is this a precautionary small thing?
Jordan, Jordan, how's the old soupbone?

Buddy, I cried when they DLed you
Even though I knew you couldn't play
But Z-mann, remember,
You'll be back September
And till then you'll rehab ev'ry day

Whoa, whoa
Jordan, Jordan, Jordan, how's your fastball?
Jordan, Jordan, Jordan, can you go?
Jordan, Jordan, have you thrown your last ball?
Jordan, we all pray for your elbowwwwwwwwww

Whoa, whoa
Repeat ... fade out.

Posted by: Scooter_ | July 23, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Nice rap, scooter.

Posted by: BinM | July 23, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

What's the tag - "Wassup JZimm"?

Posted by: BinM | July 23, 2009 7:14 PM | Report abuse

@C_Harlan: So, based on overall surguries while on duty, you've caught Chico (elbow), Bernardina (alkle), Milledge (wrist), & Olsen (shoulder).
That's four - you're golden.

Posted by: BinM | July 23, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

"sure periculum, here's your trade scenario...
--------------------"

Seems awfully interesting that trade rumors sparked up just ahead of the 1 game make up ...

The AAA (prospect) seems like he could help them today was (closer Jess Todd). The rest (if there were more) could be sorely needed prospects for Syracuse and Harrisburg. Assuming that building the farms still takes precedence at this point in the "plan".

Posted by: periculum | July 23, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

@C_Harlan: So, based on overall surguries while on duty, you've caught Chico (elbow), Bernardina (alkle), Milledge (wrist), & Olsen (shoulder).
That's four - you're golden.

Posted by: BinM | July 23, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

---------

That's like surgeries for the cycle, or something.

Posted by: Section506 | July 23, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Sorry all but that link to the "surgery" column by Chico was a lot funnier.

Its all about next year now ...

Will they opt to rebuild the farms acquiring more prospects? Or will they go for major leaguers?

Posted by: periculum | July 23, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

All this talk of trading Dunn. Why now? Why not next year when his contract is up? For that matter if he continues to hit at a 40 HR pace, why not just keep him? Let him play 1st. Works for me.

Posted by: thegraneys | July 23, 2009 6:38 PM

Why trade Dunn now? Because Dunn will be a FA after next year and nobody will give up top prospects for a 2 month rental. We don't want a repeat of Alfonso Soriano. Also his 12 mil salary is reasonable for a 40 HR guy. Now is Dunn's peak trade value, unless he explodes next year for 60 HR and 120 RBI. I say set your bar at major league-ready pitching (starting/relief) then add 2-3 AA/A prospects to upgrade the system. By the time the Nats are contenders Dunn will be on the decline. Right now Dunn just brings people to the ballpark and makes people like myself watch the game on TV.

- Dunn makes a perfect fit for the Red Sox (or another AL team), could be in the outfield this season, replacing JD Drew, and then DH the rest of his career.
He is a good fit for the STL now, but being in the NL he would only be successful defending for a couple more years.

Posted by: wrw0601 | July 23, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

BinM

don't indulge his minor league musings.

Posted by: surly_w | July 23, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else seeing the banner ad to buy tickets for a "Reggae Wine Fest" Saturday and Sunday, July 18 - 19, 2008?

That's definitely a legit reggae/wine-fest ad.

Posted by: Section506 | July 23, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

"BinM
don't indulge his minor league musings.
Posted by: surly_w | July 23, 2009"

BinM,

Don't indulge surly_w and his smarmy swirliness.

Posted by: periculum | July 23, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

And every trade made by every GM helps both teams, fills a need, and upgrades the roster. At least in the next morning's paper or blog post.

Column -
"This trade was a pure salary dump," said Marlins President Larry Beinfest. "We love Willingham, but he's soon gonna be arbitration eligible and Loria said he's gotta go. Olsen we can spare, he's lost some velocity and we have enough inventory."

Regarding new third baseman Emilio Bonifacio, Beinfest elaborated on the prospect of his speed at the top of the lineup. "Anybody with half a brain can see that offensively he's not going to carry his weight as a corner infielder. If he gets on base he's going to be a weapon, but that's a big if based on his history and our scouting. But because having a player like that at third is such a novelty, we can spin it to the fans as an exciting breakthrough. Did I mention that he comes cheap?"

Geezer

Posted by: utec | July 23, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

surly_w the red-finned tuna,
had a very shiny fin,
and if you ever saw it,
it would even make you grin.

All of the little sea wenches used to laugh
and call him names.
They let poor surrrrly join in any dating games.

Then one foggy Sargasso Sea Neptune came to say:
Surly with your fin so bright won't you guide
my seeeeahorseys tonight!

Then how the mermaids loved him as they shouted out with glee:

surly_w the red-finned tuna you'll be canned in a fisherrrry!

Posted by: periculum | July 23, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

"1a ... have you tried the Gifford's milkshake at the stadium? Worth every stadium-inflated cent they charge."

Giffords from "old towne" Silver Spring ...
Water melon sorbet or ice cream ...

Posted by: periculum | July 23, 2009 7:47 PM | Report abuse

2 - zip Bally looks just like he did in Syracuse.

Posted by: periculum | July 23, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Chico, molti grazie for turning us onto that story.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 23, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

"Why trade Dunn now? Because Dunn will be a FA after next year and nobody will give up top prospects for a 2 month rental. We don't want a repeat of Alfonso Soriano. ...By the time the Nats are contenders Dunn will be on the decline."

There's a couple things I don't agree with in here.

* Dunn is far far from his peak value, barring a drastic downturn in abilities. For your mid-year trades, you have to divide teams into two classes: 1) those seeking to improve long-term and 2) those seeking to win it all this year.

The Morgan/Burnett-Milledge/Hanrahan trade was between two teams in the first category. These sorts of trades are fairly rare during the season and tend towards the beginning.

Dunn, though, is being shopped as a trade between the 1st and the 2nd. The second category of teams are more desperate and ARE willing to give up prospects in order to win it all. But that team doesn't want to be stuck with Dunn an extra year, likely. Thus the high value in the final year of a contract.

*Soriano is not analogous. At all. Except they both wore Nationals uniforms. Though only Dunn wore a Natinals uniform.

*Dunn is far, far, far from being an old man. He has not even hit his hitters prime. However he may be declining by the time the Nationals start winning at this rate.

Posted by: Section506 | July 23, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Whoa, here's a rain delay tweet for you: Balester's fiancee, asked about "his personality," just gave him the Nuke LaLooshe review -- "He's all over the place."

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 23, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and who called this rain delay a post or three back! bang on!

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 23, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

first walk ... and then rain delay ...

Posted by: periculum | July 23, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, in what is typically a far rainier place, Syracuse ...

Estrada, Williams and Pete Orr were hammered ... its a blow-out for Toledo.

Posted by: periculum | July 23, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Drese, Patterson, Shawn Hill, Majewski, Eischen, Brian Lawrence, Cordero, Olsen...this club has had some dead-armed pitchers. I say Olsen has thrown his last pitch in a Nationals uniform. Labrum surgery is no minor deal, no matter how much the Nats try to soft-pedal it. With 11 starters on their roster (not counting Strasburg, likely to make it a dozen), there are many, many more promising arms than Olsen. Fact that he has to make at least 80 percent of this year's salary is enough to make Uncle Teddy choke on his morning bran muffin. So we traded Bonifacio for Willingham, straight up. Still say we got the better of it.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | July 23, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Sec 506, don't you think Dunn is a good value at 12m next year? Seems like we signed him in the offseason to a below-market deal. Granted, his defense is a bit like watching Friday 13th, Part XXII (sort of scary, mostly "not again!"). But, his on base and slugging pcts are awesome! Imagine what he would do for a hyper-competitive AL team!

Posted by: hacmanindc | July 23, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Olsen has always been less than a full up round. He will never be a full contributor.

Best to cut our ties when we can. Great guy with a bad body.

Posted by: navboss | July 23, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

I would agree, but then, that's what we said about Guzman--he could have gotten more elsewhere. And in his case, it might have been true. Dunn's: demonstrably not true.
*********
Sec 506, don't you think Dunn is a good value at 12m next year? Seems like we signed him in the offseason to a below-market deal.
Posted by: hacmanindc | July 23, 2009 9:54 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 23, 2009 11:44 PM | Report abuse

and yes, there has been a new post for quite some time now... but it's still raining.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 23, 2009 11:44 PM | Report abuse

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