The Washington Times - July 17, 2009, 11:35PM

We can pretty much forgo any hard analysis of tonight’s 3-1 loss to the Cubs — the Nats had a chance to knock out Carlos Zambrano early and they couldn’t do it — and look instead at another lingering issue: the status of Scott Olsen’s left shoulder.

Olsen, still battling soreness in his latissimus dorsi muscle, won’t be ready to make his scheduled start Monday. The lefty was examined this afternoon by a team doctor and will get another evaluation at some point over the weekend. The Nationals haven’t decided yet whether he’ll need to be placed on the disabled list, but interim manager Jim Riggleman said he won’t be able to start Monday against the Mets as hoped.

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So who gets the nod instead? Riggleman said his preference would be to use a reliever for a spot start against New York, but a call-up from Class AAA Syracuse (likely either Collin Balester or Shairon Martis) could be necessary.

“You’d like to [use the bullpen],” Riggleman said. “But that would mean that we’ve gotten some indication that Olsen’s going to be back soon. If we don’t get an indication that he’s going to be back soon, then we might as well bring another body in.”