Unsure what is causing soreness in the back of his left shoulder, Nationals pitcher Scott Olsen will get a second opinion Monday from noted orthopedist James Andrews, a development that could land the lefty back on the disabled list.
Olsen, who missed six weeks earlier this season with tendinitis in the shoulder, is experiencing soreness in his latissimus dorsi, the muscle in the back of the shoulder. He was bumped from his start Friday against the Chicago Cubs and now has been bumped again from his rescheduled Monday start against the New York Mets.
The 25-year-old posted a 2.87 ERA in his first two starts after his initial stint on the disabled list before lasting only four innings against the Astros before the All-Star break. He returned from the break complaining of soreness.
“He just wants to get some more information on why this pain is persisting,” interim manager Jim Riggleman said. “It’s still sore, so we know we’re going to have to shut him down for a while probably.”
The Nationals haven’t decided whether Olsen will return to the DL, but acting general manager Mike Rizzo said the club likely will promote a starter from Class AAA Syracuse to take his spot Monday rather than use a reliever already on the big league roster.
“We’re leaning towards one of the Syracuse guys taking the start,” Rizzo said. “We haven’t decided which one yet.”
The two most logical candidates are right-handers Collin Balester, who is 6-3 with a 3.14 ERA in his past 10 starts, and Shairon Martis, who opened the season 5-0 with Washington. But Balester started Saturday night and Martis started Friday, preventing either from being ready to pitch again Monday.
The other possibilities are right-hander J.D. Martin (8-3 with a 2.66 ERA) or lefty Ross Detwiler, who was demoted to Syracuse last week after going 0-5 with a 6.40 ERA. The Nationals would have to add Martin to the 40-man roster before calling him up.
Riggleman: No closer
Not that he got many opportunities to save games, but Mike MacDougal ended the first half as Washington’s closer. Riggleman, though, said Saturday he doesn’t intend to designate anyone from his bullpen as the full-time keeper of the ninth inning and will instead spread the opportunities between MacDougal, Joe Beimel and perhaps others.
The interim manager seems to subscribe to the belief that it’s better to have multiple relievers capable of pitching the ninth as opposed to one predetermined closer, as Manny Acta preferred.
“I think we’re not going to lock ourselves into ‘this one person is the closer,’ ” Riggleman said. “We’d like to feel that there are a few guys out there that can get comfortable getting outs, period, between the seventh and ninth. They’re all crucial situations. We’ll just see who’s more comfortable getting that third out eventually or if two or three of them get comfortable.”
MacDougal has recorded five saves in as many opportunities this season, but the right-hander has struggled this month, posting a 6.23 ERA and eight walks in his past 4 1/3 innings. He said he has no problem with Riggleman’s philosophy.
“I think most pitchers like to have a role, or at least have an idea when they’re going to go in,” he said. “But at the same time, when you get up, you warm up and pitch.”