Nationals pitcher Scott Olsen pitched fairly well against the Phils in his first game in the majors since July 10th of last year. Olsen threw 91 pitches with 57 for strikes, went 5 2/3rd innings, allowed 5 hits, 4 earned runs, 3 walks and struck out 5 Phillies.
Olsen told me he debuted a new pitch, the sinker, in that game, and had success throwing it.
He says he feels comfortable with the grip and is excited to add it to his repertoire.
Syracuse Chiefs pitching coach Greg Booker helped Olsen with his new pitch while in Viera. They continued working on it in Triple A.
"I had a real good relationship with Booker during spring training. So having him (in Syracuse) was great. He was fantastic.
Booker was working with me on my sinker. In spring training, we kind of were tinkering with that a little bit more while I was down there.
He was the guy I got real close to during spring training so it was nice to be able to see him (again in Triple A)."
Olsen said he broke out his new pitch against the Phils and it went over well. "Yes, we used it against the Phils. It went real good. We threw 10-15 of them against the Phillies."
Scott said this is the first season he even thought about throwing the sinker. "I never even contemplated throwing it until two weeks into spring training.
One day I just went out there and I said 'let's see what happens with the sinker.' So we started throwing it."
Olsen said it wasn't Booker's idea to start throwing it, it was all his motivation.
"Everybody's got a sinker. I figured I want one too.
It took me awhile to figure out which grip was more comfortable for me. Now we got one and it feels comfortable. We are sticking with it and are trying to make improvements on that grip now."
Adding a sinker to Olsen's arsenal will only make him a better pitcher. After all, guys like Roy Halladay, Joel Pineiro, Carlos Zambrano and even the Nats own Chien-Ming Wang rely heavily on vicious sinkers.
Let's see how many times he tries the "drop ball" against the Rockies on Tuesday in his next scheduled start.
10,000 and sold out tonight in Harrisburg to watch Stephen Strasburg's second start.