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Nats vs. Braves — 3/28/10

Mar 28, 2010, 4:40 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Scott Olsen gets one last chance today to make his case for a rotation spot.

VIERA, Fla. — Oh yeah, there's a game today. Sorry, it's been a busy Sunday already here at Space Coast Stadium, what with Ian Desmond beating out Cristian Guzman for the starting shortstop job and Justin Maxwell getting optioned to Class AAA Syracuse.

But there is one potentially significant aspect to today's game against the Braves. This is Scott Olsen's last chance to make any kind of case for a spot in the rotation. Truth be told, it may be too late for the left-hander, who at this point might need a solid outing simply to remain employed. If the Nationals release him by Wednesday, they'd only be responsible for one-quarter of his 2010 salary (so, $250,000 instead of $1 million).

Olsen better work fast today, though, because there's a major storm heading this way. Not wanting to take a chance on a rainout or shortened game, Braves manager Bobby Cox elected to leave starter Tommy Hanson back at Disney World. So reliever Scott Proctor will actually start for Atlanta and only go one inning.

Check back for updates along the way…

Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Fla.
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
TV/Radio: No TV/Braves radio via XM and MLB Gameday Audio
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 75 degrees, Wind 18 mph in from LF

CF Nyjer Morgan
SS Ian Desmond
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn

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  1. BinM - Mar 28, 2010 at 5:00 PM

    Hope Olsen throws well enough today to earn a SYR spot, but can't help thinking he's going to get cut for Livo. Also, could be the final battle for a roster spot between Bernadina & Taveras.

  2. Positively Half St. - Mar 28, 2010 at 5:10 PM

    Best as I can tell, there is no XM.

  3. PDowdy83 - Mar 28, 2010 at 5:28 PM

    Wait, was the a walk from a shortstop hitting second in the lineup? Hmmm, that is strange.Hopefully Zimm keeps it up to start the season.

  4. BinM - Mar 28, 2010 at 5:40 PM

    +1/2St: Can't lock into the gameday audio feed either – Don't know what's up.

  5. Doc - Mar 28, 2010 at 5:44 PM

    Yeah, I was just gonna say (PDowdy83), one of the more significant runs in that 3-run homer was our SS's walk. Let's hear it for Dessi's OBP!!!!

  6. BinM - Mar 28, 2010 at 6:26 PM

    So Mark, do you think if Olsen can post one more clean inning, he's saved a job in SYR to start the year?

  7. BinM - Mar 28, 2010 at 6:32 PM

    Mark:If Olsen can get through the 5th cleanly, is that enough to save a spot for him in SYR?

  8. Anonymous - Mar 28, 2010 at 6:38 PM

    LOL Nats socre lots of runs again….against a B SQUAD, Jurjens made us look silly yesterday….it is going to be a long year!Mark – Have the Nats beat a front of the rotation starter this year and and full A lineup???

  9. Mark Zuckerman - Mar 28, 2010 at 6:44 PM

    BinM: This is going to be a fascinating decision for the Nats. Has Olsen done enough to make the big-league rotation? No. Has he done enough to make the Class AAA rotation? Maybe. But is he worth $1 million to pitch at Syracuse? I'm not sure.

  10. Kenz aFan - Mar 28, 2010 at 6:47 PM

    Gameday audio is working great for me, but it could be because I'm way up in Canada "eh"One thing for sure, it makes for a feel good feeling with the number nine hitter hitting at the same time the 1 and 2 are. And like PDowdy83 noted, our SS WALKED!

  11. greg - Mar 28, 2010 at 6:47 PM

    this team needs to take chances for $1M. it's not like their payroll is $100m. so unless they're convinced he can't make it back, take the chance.

  12. sec314 - Mar 28, 2010 at 7:01 PM

    Definitely hold on to him. He's a lefty-valuable commodity. I've posted here and many places that I don't trust Mock… And I have my doubts about Marquis. The big club may need Olsen sooner than they think.

  13. PDowdy83 - Mar 28, 2010 at 7:05 PM

    I definitely think he is worth the $1million to keep around for trade bait or injury insurance.

  14. BinM - Mar 28, 2010 at 7:12 PM

    If Olsen were a 32-33 y.o., I'd say cut him & never have a 2nd thought. But he's 26, he's left-handed, and he's stood up to the rigors of a 200IP season. Unless Rizzo is feeling budget pressures from keeping Batista & Hernandez (1.5M+), I'd think they would find a way to hang onto Olsen.

  15. Mark Zuckerman - Mar 28, 2010 at 7:21 PM

    To answer the earlier question about the Nats facing real lineups/starters … they beat the Cards with everyone minus Pujols and Wainwright on the mound the other day.

  16. Sasskuash - Mar 28, 2010 at 7:38 PM

    I'm not an Olsen fan, but with his age, left-handedness, and affordable contract, I have to agree we should keep him around. I also agree that I don't fully trust Mock. Though, I'm pretty happy that I trust everyone else in the rotation to give the Nats a predictable return that won't be embarrassing on the MLB level. First time in a while I've felt that way!

  17. Sunderland - Mar 28, 2010 at 8:22 PM

    What makes the Olsen decision so difficult is that if he is sent to Syracuse, there's not really any reason to believe he'll ever be back.Suppose things go OK for a few weeks.Then by late April Detwiler is tossing rehab starts. A week or three behind him is CM Wang. And then a few weeks later, here comes Strasburg.So, invest another $750K in Olsen for what?In case he does well, we have more trade flexibility?Perhaps.This is going to be a tough call.

  18. greg - Mar 28, 2010 at 8:47 PM

    You presume that both Wang and Detweiler will contribute. Detweiler is more of a sure thing than Wang. And if they both come back and Olsen pitches well, yes, we have some trade bait.If either or both of them doesn't, but Olsen does, better for the nats.

  19. B.R. - Mar 28, 2010 at 8:47 PM

    No update in an hour and a half … I hope it's the storm's responsibility, or at least hope Mark wasn't hit on the noggin by a fly ball.

  20. Doc - Mar 28, 2010 at 9:04 PM

    Somebody important in the history of baseball said, "…you can never have too many pitchers…". That said, send Olsen to Syracuse. $1 mill is nothing in this day and age of BB economics. If he does well, you can be sure some other MLB team will be looking for a LH pitcher.

  21. Sunderland - Mar 28, 2010 at 9:07 PM

    Greg – I'm not presuming anything.But today, Olsen is not one of the best 5.He *could* be one of the best 5 in the future, but he certainly could not.It's not just Detwiler, Wang and Strasburg. There's also guys like Chico and Martin and Thompson.Here's one presumption that almost everyone associated with the Nat's is making.Our rotation will improve during the course of this season.So, if Olsen's is not good enough to make the rotation today, and the rotation is going to be improving as these guys become available, why would anyone have confidence that Olsen will be able to crack into the *new and improved* rotation?

  22. Nats fan in NJ - Mar 28, 2010 at 9:46 PM

    Olsen is definitely worth the $1M risk. Can't have too many arms. It's not as though his going to Syracuse is going to push out somebody that we "need" to see at AAA.Busy day in Nats land…





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