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Scott Olsen: "I'll be ready" for Opening Day

On Thursday, Nationals manager Jim Riggleman reiterated that lefthander Scott Olsen is assured a spot in the starting rotation if his shoulder is healthy. A day later, Olsen vowed to make the "if" segment of that statement unnecessary.

"It's going to take hell and high water to keep me off that field on Opening Day," Olsen said. "If I can get my arm over my head, I'm going to be there."

Olsen, 26, underwent surgery late last July to repair a small tear in his shoulder. He said he is "getting stronger by the day" and has experienced no setbacks since the surgery. Olsen feels certain he will be the team's third starter behind Jason Marquis and John Lannan when the season begins.

"I'll be ready," Olsen said. "I'll be ready. When I had the surgery last year, we planned on being ready Opening Day. There's nothing that has happened since that day of surgery where we've had any thoughts of not being ready."

Last year, Olsen began the season in the Nationals rotation but missed more than a month with tendinitis in his left shoulder. He returned in late June and made three starts before it became clear his condition required surgery. While battling the injury, Olsen went 2-4 with a 6.03 ERA in 11 starts.

Olsen, in his second year with the Nationals, had not figured on locking up a spot in the rotation this early in the spring. He felt grateful for Riggleman's vote of confidence.

"You never assume anything," Olsen said. "There's a lot of [stuff] that can happen in this game. It's nice to have the organization have your back provided that your healthy. It's good to hear. It shows that they have some confidence in my prior abilities, what I was able to show. Now I just got to get back to performing on the field like we did in years past."

By Adam Kilgore  |  February 26, 2010; 5:30 PM ET
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Adam, we're loving all of these posts. Keep up the good work.

I don't know if somebody has already posted this but our man Ronnie Belly-Hard is in the news:

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- The most expensive two pounds in baseball reside in the general vicinity of Ronnie Belliard's waistline.

A leading candidate to start at second base on opening day for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Belliard must adhere to a weight clause if he wants to activate his $825,000 one-year deal. So far it remains a work in progress.

The Dodgers want Belliard to be at 209 pounds at some point this spring before the contract can become official. That was the weight Belliard was playing at when the Dodgers acquired him late last season from the Washington Nationals.

Belliard reported to spring training this week and said he's close to the goal weight but could be as heavy as 211 pounds.

"I have never come into spring training at (209)," he said. "I think I feel good and I look good, so we'll see what happens."

Posted by: baltova1 | February 26, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Let's say their rotation looks like Marquis, Lannon, Olsen, Wang, and Fernandez at some point this year. With a revamped bullpen, that means most of their SPs from last year will be in the AAA rotation.

With the experience they gained last year, they should be tough this year.

Posted by: derwink | February 26, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang...adding this repost cause the news is coming fast and furious,,,,and because it;s nice to see the return of familiar "faces"...especially those who play their positions like all-stars (thats's what S.T.'s all about, right?)

Hey Gang-WOW!! Spring Training AND 506 back in the mix! Welcome home-hope yer new wife appreciates your place here in the "Nat-ion".....

I'm referring, of course, to our own sec506 who I saw had a post a few stories back. Looking forward to see what "rookies" are gonna shine here this year, too!....'s GOOD to be's made BETTER gearing up for the "Show"....and it's GREAT to have our own TEAM!!!!

Posted by: zendo | February 26, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

The Rotation that Nats Mgmt seemingly and apparently are waiting to see would be: Lannan, Marquis, Mock, Olsen, [Martin or Hernandez], and Stammen / Clippard as the swing men.

Posted by: periculum | February 26, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Whoever is in the rotation, it bumps a lot of the young guys that got thrown into the majors last year down a level.

They keep talking about the importance of the minor league process with Strasburg, now some of the guys that may have been rushed get to go through that process. I think that's important.

Personally, I'd like to see Mock get a shot.

Posted by: derwink | February 26, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I'd like to see Mock get a shot.
Posted by: derwink

Can I respectfully ask, "Why?"

Mock is a gas can.

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | February 26, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

I thought Mock had a good game or two down the stretch last year but I looked over his game log and he was a gas can. SBCITPFM, you were right.

Man, that teaches me to post with the stomach flu and high fever. My fever must be really high if I thought Mock deserved a shot.


Posted by: derwink | February 26, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

"Can I respectfully ask, "Why?"

Because he would be the only "power pitcher" with "good stuff" in that rotation? Sans Detwiler? Even with Wang that would still be true I think?

With the Nats dismal injury stats one would have to almost have to assume that Wang, Detwiler, and then Strasburg would arrive just about in the nick of time.

Posted by: periculum | February 26, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Lannan, Marquis and Olsen may throw the slowest stuff a the top of any rotation in the history of baseball.

With this speed, Flores would make a good #4.

Posted by: howjensen | February 26, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

A 93-94mph fastball left over the middle of the plate leaves the park just as fast as a 88-89mph fastball in the same place; They just go a lot further. Until Mock can hit corners consistently, he's just what Dunn called him - Meat.

Posted by: BinM | February 26, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Well, if Olsen is starting Opening Day, the Nats are in for a long season.

Posted by: fischy | February 26, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I would have no problem with Mock making the rotation if he had a strong spring. He was probably out best pitcher last August, when he had a 3.31 ERA over 6 starts, but he followed that up with a dreadful September, before a strong outing in his final appearance. He was awesome down at AAA last year, so you never know. I pesonally would like our rotation to be Lannan, Marquis, Olsen, Stammen & whoever performs the best in spring from Mock/Martin/Chico/Martis to start the season (before his injury, I had wanted Detwiler). I hope by June that Wang and maybe Strasburg will be in the rotation.

Posted by: curlyWfan | February 26, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

The Lerners must be considered "cheap" until they "hit the corner of the plate".

Imagine this rotation in 2011:
Aaron Crow, Steven Strasburg, Aroldis Chapman, John Lannan, Ross Detwiler.

That rotation certainly might give one pause to think about world series appearances. In the very near term.

That isn't going to happen. Certainly it is only partially due to the Lerners that this team does not have that rotation on its horizon. However, it is in large part due to their management that it does not.

Posted by: periculum | February 26, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I rather have the rotation that includes 5 of the following 6: Steven Strasburg, John Lannan, Jason Marquis, Chien-Ming Wang, Jordan Zimmermann, & Ross Detwiler. There is no reason to think these guys can't lead us to the World Series in the near future.

Posted by: curlyWfan | February 28, 2010 12:11 AM | Report abuse

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