Scott Olsen, who has made two relief appearances for the Nationals since they took him out of the starting rotation at the beginning of September, probably won’t pitch again this year, manager Jim Riggleman said on Sunday.
Olsen, who had shoulder surgery last season, was still trying to regain arm strength in spring training and missed two months with left shoulder inflammation this year. Olsen warmed up during Friday’s game, and needs “about an inning and a half” to warm up before he pitches out of the bullpen, Riggleman said. He experienced some shoulder pain when he was trying to throw a bullpen session this week, and the Nationals have decided they won’t be able to use him out of the bullpen.
The left-hander, who has bristled at the move to the bullpen, might have thrown his last pitch for the Nationals. He signed a one-year deal with a $1 million base salary and incentives based on the number of starts he made. But given the number of young starters the team is hoping to see in its rotation in 2011, it’s difficult to imagine the Nationals bringing back Olsen, who is entering his last year of arbitration.
“He’s really been a gamer, trying to pitch through these things,” Riggleman said. “Going back to (spring training), 83 miles an hour he came in (to the spring), he left throwing 89. So he really worked hard to build it up. After one start in the minor leagues, he pitched for us, pitched effectively, got tender again, came back, pitched OK, hot and cold. But I don’t think he’s ever really felt top-notch all year. I probably should let him answer that. But for lack of other words, he’s a good pitcher. He keeps the ball down, he gets ground balls, he 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.”
Olsen declined to comment.