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One day away from Stephen Strasburg's Nationals debut

Scott Olsen is going to pitch today for the first time this spring, and it's an important start. Olsen, coming off shoulder surgery to repair a small tear in his labrum, is trying to recapture the mechanics that somewhere along the line went haywire. And yet, yesterday morning, he had one eye looking in another direction.

"I'll tell you what," Olsen said. "Tuesday is going to be real fun around here. I can't wait to see it."

Tuesday will bring Stephen Strasburg's first major league start, which if you're reading this blog you probably already know. When Strasburg first showed up in Viera last summer and a mob of reporters and fans followed, he thought that would dissipate at some point.

"Once I get into playing games and stuff, it should be able to die down," Strasburg said then. "Hopefully it will die down sometime soon. . . . I'm just a baseball player. It's not like I'm the president or anything."

Here we are six months later, and if anything the attention has ratcheted up. Take Saturday night, when CBS Evening News ran a piece featuring Strasburg talking about Boz. (No, wait, other way around.) Viera is going to be a mob scene by tomorrow, not only because of Strasburg but also because Chien-Ming Wang will return -- along with the horde of Taiwanese reporters who follow him -- today to continue his rehab.

Since Strasburg uttered those words last August after playing catch, his naivete and discomfort regarding the attention has disappeared. Strasburg is shy by nature, but he has managed everything thrown at him this spring.

"I couldn't tell you if he even knows he's starting," pitching coach Steve McCatty said. "He's been a straight line the whole time. He's just a quiet, easy-going kid. He tickles me."

When Strasburg takes the mound, the Tigers will be the first team to find out what it's like to face him. One self-styled expert has some problems with Strasburg's delivery. Yesterday's starter, Jason Marquis, had an up-and-down debut. Cristian Guzman is scheduled to play shortstop today. There may be no reason to worry about the perceived logjam Ian Desmond is causing. If you missed Sheinin's blog post this weekend about Josh Towers's World Series Ring, don't miss it again.

"Once I get into playing games and stuff, it should be able to die down," Strasburg said then. "Hopefully it will die down sometime soon. . . . I'm just a baseball player. It's not like I'm the president or anything."

Here we are six months later, and if anything the attention has ratcheted up. Take Saturday night, when CBS Evening News ran a piece featuring Strasburg talking about Boz. (No, wait, other way around.) Viera is going to be a mob scene by tomorrow, not only because of Strasburg but also because Chien-Ming Wang will return -- along with the horde of Taiwanese reporters who follow him -- today to continue his rehab.

Since Strasburg uttered those words last August after playing catch, his naivete and discomfort regarding the attention has disappeared. Strasburg is shy by nature, but he has managed everything thrown at him this spring.

"I couldn't tell you if he even knows he's starting," pitching coach Steve McCatty said. "He's been a straight line the whole time. He's just a quiet, easy-going kid. He tickles me."

When Strasburg takes the mound, the Tigers will be the first team to find out what it's like to face him. One self-styled expert has some problems with Strasburg's delivery. Yesterday's starter, Jason Marquis, had an up-and-down debut. Cristian Guzman is scheduled to play shortstop today. There may be no reason to worry about the perceived logjam Ian Desmond is causing. If you missed Sheinin's blog post this weekend about Josh Towers's World Series Ring, don't miss it again.

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 8, 2010; 6:28 AM ET
Categories:  Scott Olsen , Stephen Strasburg  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Mike Morse, an inside-the-park grand slam, and a reasonably well-played Nationals game
Next: Chien-Ming Wang is back

Comments

That blog was so good, you had to read it twice.

Posted by: cokedispatch | March 8, 2010 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Argh! Warn me before you link me to Steven on Capitol Hill's blog, so I don't give him any blog hits!!!

Posted by: Section506 | March 8, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Uninjured Lannan & Marquis did so well in their first appearances, so I will overly imagine Olsen having equal success.

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | March 8, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Dang - I should have brushed up on my Taiwainese before I cam down here. Headed out to the park and am eager to see how Olsen throws today.

Posted by: lowcountry | March 8, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Hmm. Which Chinese dialect do they speak on Taiwan? Cantonese?

Posted by: Section506 | March 8, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I don't think you would ever see a "Desmond Bruntlett" infield. Before that you would like see AGonz, perhaps Orr. Or even Morse, as much as everyone claims he can't play second he actually did that last year on a semi-regular basis.

Lombardozzi actually looked decent in his single appearance this spring. And then, there's Kobernus. Kobernus has had enough big-college exposure to possibly show up in AA this year. And finally Espinosa may be able to play 2nd as well as shortstop.

There's a lot that could happen below the major league level as well as at the major league level that could break that logjam.

Posted by: periculum | March 8, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, Wikipedia:

A large majority of the people of Taiwan speak Mandarin, which has been the only officially sanctioned medium of instruction in the schools for more than four decades. As a result of the half century of Japanese rule, many people born before 1940 also can speak fluent Japanese.

Hoklo people and many others also speak Hokkien, commonly known as "Taiwanese".

Posted by: Section506 | March 8, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Just ask Wang the following and you are all set:

"Nihao Kailan?"

Posted by: JohnWWW | March 8, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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