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Cristian Guzman's return, Scott Olsen's start, Stephen Strasburg, part two

On March 4, the Nationals came here for their first game of the spring and absorbed a 15-5 beating at the hands of the Astros and the wind. The Astros launched five home runs, four of them to right-center, where the wind was blowing out. Well, today, the same wind is back for Scott Olsen to deal with.

"You've just got to get the ball down," Manager Jim Riggleman said. "If you get the ball in the air, it's going to go out of the ballpark. It doesn't give you a real good read on how that guy's throwing. But it does give you the challenge of seeing if you can get the ball on the ground and seeing if you can live up to that challenge."

In his last start, Olsen allowed three runs on seven hits in two innings. His velocity hovered at about 85-88 mph, which is below where he is most effective. It'd be a good sign if that creeps up today.

"You can't try to add five miles per hour from start to start," Riggleman said. "If it goes up a tick each time he goes out, that means he's getting stronger and stronger."

* * *
The Nationals plan on having Stephen Strasburg throw three innings tomorrow against the Cardinals in Viera in his second start of the spring. "My guess is that he would" make at least one more start in a big league spring game after tomorrow, Riggleman said. But he didn't commit to anything, saying it will be an organizational decison.

* * *
Guzman will return to camp Sunday night or Monday morning, Riggleman said. When he arrives back from Washignton, where he was with his wife while she gave birth, Guzman will have to restart building up strength in his surgically repaired shoulder. He won't be inserted immediately back in the lineup, Riggleman said, and he will DH for a few games.

Despite the slowing of Guzman's recovery, Riggleman isn't worried about Guzman's availability once the season begins. "I think concern is probably a little bit of a strong of word," he said.

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 13, 2010; 11:44 AM ET
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