Nationals Notebook

Nationals Starter Scott Olsen Is Out for the Season, Will Have Shoulder Surgery

By Chico Harlan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Scott Olsen came to the Washington Nationals this offseason with a track record for durability. But now, just 11 starts and 62 2/3 innings into his 2009 season, Olsen's year is already done. Olsen, on the disabled list after experiencing soreness in his left shoulder, found out Monday that his injury is more serious than initially believed. The lefty has a small tear in his labrum, and will not be able to throw a baseball again for at least three months. His goal now: to recover in time for spring training of 2010.

"It really [stinks]," Olsen said. "But I'm not the only person that has had surgery. We just go back and try to build up for next year now."

Thursday, Olsen will have surgery, performed by team doctor Wiemi Douoguih, at Washington Hospital Center.

For now, based on an MRI exam, the team believes that Olsen's rotator cuff is not affected by the injury. A full labral tear is perhaps baseball's most serious pitching injury, often requiring more than a year of rehabilitation. Olsen's injury is not as serious.

"Nine times out of 10 this is just a clean-up procedure, with the idea that they're back to being competition-ready in three months," Douoguih said. "And that's the goal here. Every once in a while you go in [in surgery] and find something a little more extensive, but I think probably there's a 90 percent likelihood this will just be a clean-up procedure."

Olsen's season has been a progression of setbacks. Armed with diminished velocity from the start of spring training, he pitched poorly in his first eight starts (7.29 ERA) before landing on the disabled list in mid-May with left shoulder tendinitis.

Olsen returned to the rotation at the end of June, declaring himself fit, and for the next three outings he even looked the part. But he returned from the all-star break complaining of soreness in his left lat muscle. Turns out, that was a precursor to a bigger problem.

Olsen felt the latest round of discomfort one day after his July 10 start in Houston. "I mean, I just didn't feel normal," Olsen said. "The day after I pitched in Houston was a hard day. I couldn't really go through my throwing program like I normally would on the day after my routine. I didn't get any better with the couple days off on the break. Didn't get any better Wednesday when I tried to get on the mound, and had to skip Friday. Now we're at this step."

New Places, New Faces

Relief pitcher Logan Kensing, back in the big leagues after a two-month stint with Class AAA Syracuse, walked into the clubhouse on Monday to find a new manager, a new pitching coach, and few remaining teammates from the bullpen he contributed to in early May. "Obviously there's some new stuff going on," Kensing said.

During his first Nationals tenure, Washington, Kensing was rocked, allowing 10 runs in five innings.

"I had a few bad appearances and it just kind of snowballed," Kensing said. "My first two outings were tough, and after that, mentally, I was a midget." And now? "I mean, there's a big difference," he said. "I just had to get some mental things back together, kind of reboot." . . .

Following a week in which he hit .500 (12 for 24) with one homer, 4 RBI and eight runs scored, 2006 first-round pick Chris Marrero, currently playing with Class A Potomac, was named Carolina League player of the week.

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