Scott Olsen likely done for the season
After experiencing recent soreness in his shoulder and unable to find comfort as a reliever, Scott Olsen appears to be done for the season and, perhaps, done with the Nationals. Olsen recently tried to throw a bullpen session and felt "aches and pains" in his surgically repaired left shoulder, Manager Jim Riggleman said.
Olsen also tried to warm up in the bullpen Friday, but did not enter the game after he could not get loose. When Olsen moved to the bullpen, his primary objection was how it affected his routine to warm up. He said he never pitches without first playing catch from 140 feet, and he requires 15 minutes to warm up.
"That doesn't work very well out of the bullpen," Riggleman said. "This bullpen situation is just not working for Scott."
Olsen declined comment on his situation. It would seem likely Olsen and Nationals will part ways at the end of the season. The Nationals still control Olsen's rights for one more season, and he is eligible for arbitration again. Olsen implied dissatisfaction with the organization upon moving to the bullpen. When asked at the time if he was surprised, Olsen said, "No. Not with this team."
Last offseason, the Nationals signed Olsen to a one-year, incentive-laden contract when he was coming off major shoulder surgery. Olsen met several of the incentives, including earning $500,000 combined for making his 10th and 11th starts, which he made despite missing two months after dealing with soreness in his surgically repaired shoulder. At times, Olsen became a reliable starter for the Nationals. But after returning from his last rehab he went 1-6 with an 8.72 ERA in seven starts.
"He's really been a gamer in trying to pitch through things," Riggleman said. "He did it spring training - he came into throwing 83 miles an hour, he left throwing 89. He really worked hard to build it up. He pitched effectively, got tender again. But I don't think he's ever really felt top-notch all year."
Despite the effects of his shoulder injury, Olsen is still a 26-year-old, left-handed starter who has previously thrown 200 innings in a season. He worked incredibly hard to return and pitch even as well as he did. For the season, including two relief appearances, Olsen went 4-8 with a 5.56 ERA. It may not be the Nationals, but he could potentially be an option for some team in need of starting pitching depth.
"For lack of a better word, he's a good pitcher," Riggleman said. "He gets groundballs. He keeps the ball down. H knows how to pitch. But as you're pitching through pain, it's hard to really get on a good run and show what you can do. We haven't had that extended period of time where we can put him out there."
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