BRADENTON, Fla. –Lefty Scott Olsen is scheduled to throw a side session Monday, along with Ross Ohlendorf and Charlie Morton. It will Olsen’s his third time pitching off the mound since he strained his left hamstring two weeks ago.
“We decided to try to keep his arm in shape as best we can by continuing a throwing program,” GM Neal Huntington said. “We need to get him back running and back in a fielding position as a pitcher. That will determine his progress and when he gets into games.”
Huntington said Olsen has not fallen too far behind Charlie Morton in the battle for the No. 5 job in the rotation. “Spring training is long enough that we can get a guy stretched out. So, he’s still right in the mix.”
»»» Whoever does not get the final rotation spot will be a candidate for the bullpen. “Every one of them — (Jeff) Karstens, (Brian) Burres, Morton, (Daniel) McCutchen,” Huntington said. “The young guys who haven’t been in the big leagues before? No. But, certainly the guys who are out of options could become a viable bullpen option.”
One guy in limbo is Kevin Hart. He’s out of options and has ML experience, but he is on the mend from shoulder surgery. Hart had a setback before spring camp opened, and currently is working out but not throwing off a mound. It’s hard to envision him being ready for the start of the season.
»»» Ryan Doumit remains on the trading block, but there’s not been much action lately. “Things kind of died, in terms of most conversations, once you get into February,” Huntington said. “They (usually) pick back up again the first couple weeks of games. Right now is a very quiet period for most clubs.”
»»» Rule 5 pick Josh Rodriguez hasn’t gotten much action so far, but Huntington isn’t ready to write off his chances of making the club. “I don’t think we’re going to run our starting nine out there for five innings every game this spring,” Huntington said. “There’ll be plenty of opportunity for Rodriguez (to play). There’s plenty of at-bats to be had in spring training.”
If the Pirates keep Rodriguez, they must keep him on the ML roster the entire season or offer him back to the Indians. If the Pirates decide they can’t keep Rodriguez on the roster, Huntington indicated he’d first try to work out a trade with Cleveland in order to keep him.