Olsen Strong in Rehab Stint in Hagerstown

Posted by Dave Nichols | Sunday, July 18, 2010 | , , , , , | 0 comments »

"I feel outstanding."  Scott Olsen, after his rehab start in Hagerstown Saturday night.

HAGERSTOWN, MD -- Washington Nationals left-handed pitcher Scott Olsen was told before the game he was slated for 65 pitches or four innings in his rehab stint for the Single-A Hagerstown Suns Saturday night.

When his four innings were up he has tossed just 48 pitches -- thanks to a four pitch first inning -- and he was told by Suns' Manager, former National Matt LeCroy, that his time was up for the evening.  He gave a shrug in the dugout with his palms up, a half-hearted plea for another inning.

But Olsen knew there was a plan and knew what was better for him.

"Sometimes it gets frustrating when they pull the cord on you," Olsen told a small group of reporters after the outing, "But at times you gotta understand, sometimes doing things a little slower is better."

Saturday night in Hagerstown, Olsen made another statement to the organization that has been patiently awaiting his return in a 10-3 win for the Suns over their Sally League rival Rome Braves.

The 26-year-old left-hander went on the disabled list following his May 21 start against Altanta.  He had surgery during the offseason on his shoulder, and despite being one of the Nats' stronger starters for a period of several weeks in the spring, the discomfort he was having in the shoulder was just too much to bear on the days following his starts.

Doctors believe the pain was inflamation due to the breaking up of scar material and that there was no further structural damage in the joint.  Several periods of off and on throwing has led to two Gulf Coast League starts, and now the appearance for Hagerstown.

Olsen delivered 48 pitches -- 35 for strikes -- over his alloted four innings.  He allowed one run and two hits to the visiting Rome Braves while striking out four, walking none and hitting a batter.  The run against Olsen came in the fourth inning via a wild pitch.

"So far we've met all my expectations," Olsen said. "[I'm] getting stronger every time out, my velocity is getting more consistent."

Olsen threw all of his pitches in the outing and was generally happy with the results. "We mixed everything in, just trying to get ahead in the count," Olsen said. "Just pound the zone early and get them out with the offspeed stuff."

As with fellow rehabbing starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann, Olsen is antsy to rejoin his MLB teammates in Washington.

"Being hurt is one of the most frustrating things that you can go through as a player," Olsen admitted. "Then you get this close, you can feel yourself getting ready, and you just want to be there right now."

"You get that itch once you start getting in games again."

After the appearance, he said he felt great, with no pain in his elbow at all during the start, but that the next couple of days he would have to listen to his body.

"Tomorrow and Monday are going to be the two telltale days," Olsen said. "I'll play long-toss [Sunday], 120-150 feet."   If everything feels good, he'll have a normal bullpen session on Monday, where he'll throw 40-50 pitches.

Olsen isn't sure where his next rehab assignment will be yet, but is pretty sure he'll pitch again Thursday.  "I don't know where," Olsen said. "They're probably going to tell me [Sunday]. It might be double-A, might be triple-A."

"We've got another step in another five days," Olsen said, "and we'll go from there."

***Here are a few more photos from Saturday night's action.

Hagerstown Manager, former Washington Nationals Matt LeCroy.

Suns 3B Stephen King couldn't handle this slow roller.

Suns outfielder Destin Hood hit a 3-run home run.