With Scott Olsen out, opportunities for Justin Maxwell, maybe J.D. Martin
Scott Olsen will likely miss only minimal time on the disabled list, where he landed yesterday with stiffness in his left shoulder. Olsen's ailment is standard inflammation that follows recovery from the labrum surgery Olsen underwent last year. Olsen at first thought he would need to miss only one start, but the Nationals gave him a no-throwing mandate for five days and he will have to miss 15 days.
The stifness surfaced Friday in Olsen's start against the Baltimore Orioles. He couldn't throw inside effectively and could not extend his arm enough to throw his slider like normal.
In Olsen's absence, the Nationals, because of an off day Monday, should only need one additional starting pitcher, on May 29 against the San Diego Padres. The Nationals will give "strong consideration" to Class AAA Syracuse starter J.D. Martin, Manager Jim Riggleman said.
This season, Martin is 2-1 with a 2.97 ERA. Martin missed two starts in late April with stiffness in his back, but he has since recovered. On Saturday night, Martin allowed no earned runs on three hits and no walks in eight innings.
"He's been a loyal soldier down there for us," Riggleman said.
In the meantime, outfielder Justin Maxwell will take Olsen's spot on the 25-man roster. This is Maxwell's second call-up this season and fifth in the past two years. In his first stint with the Nationals, he appeared in 17 games and went 4 for 26 with 11 walks.
Maxwell has grown accustomed to the yo-yoing between the majors and Syracuse. Yesterday, his wife had just driven to stay with him for a month in Syracuse, and then she had to turn back around and make what's become a familiar drive for Maxwell.
"I know that's part of the game right now, because I have options," Maxwell said. "I know I can play at this level. It's just getting the opportunity and making the most of it."
On May 7, the day Maxwell was sent to Syracuse, he got a new pair of glasses. He had asked the Nationals to see an eye doctor, and optometrist Keith Smithson told him he had 20/25 vision. For a typical adult, that's fine. For a baseball player, he needed optical help.
"I noticed a big difference the first couple times I wore them," Maxwell said. "I'm definitely grateful that I got in touch with him."
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