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Olsen has good day with Suns

July 18, 2010|By BOB PARASILITI

Scott Olsen has an "itch."

He got a much-needed -- and enjoyable -- scratch on Saturday.

The Washington Nationals pitcher made his longest start of his rehabilitation for Hagerstown and the Suns made the most of his help in a 10-3 victory over the Rome Braves at Municipal Stadium.

"Being hurt is one of the most frustrating things as a player," Olsen said in his post-game press conference. "When you get close to returning, you feel yourself wanting to get back up there. You get an itch."

His relief came in short order.

The left-hander allowed one run on two hits on 31 pitches over his four innings before giving way to Paul Applebee, the Suns' scheduled starter. The Suns committed two errors behind him, but he got through his stint rather easily, leaving the game in a 1-1 tie.

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"So far, I've met expectations," he said. "I have been stronger every time out and my velocity is on track. It takes time. ... It's a process."

The Suns (9-14, 45-48) broke the tie with three runs in the fourth and capped the victory with a four-run eighth inning, highlighted by Destin Hood's three-run home run.

Inflamation in Olsen's surgically repaired left shoulder forced the pitcher to the disabled list on May 23. He had a 2-2 record and a 3.77 ERA in eight starts for the Nationals before being shut down.

Olsen made two starts earlier this month for the Nationals' Gulf Coast League team, pitching two and three innings in the outings. The goal was a four-inning stint or 65 pitches, whichever came first.

The Nationals are hoping for Olsen to return to Washington next week, but nothing is concrete. He said he will probably have another rehab start next week, but he didn't know where he would be pitching.

Olsen, who got through the first inning on four pitches, gave up the tying run in the fourth inning. He led off the inning by hitting Rome's Todd Cunningham with a pitch. Cunningham stole second and took third on a flyout before scoring on a wild pitch.

"We mixed everything in," Olsen said of his outing. "I was able to get ahead in the count and you always want to do that no matter where you are playing. When you go out there, you want quick innings, but when you are on rehab, you want to get out there and throw to build yourself back up.

"But, I'll take it."

The Suns took a 1-0 lead in the third against Rome starter Chris Masters (1-5) as Eury Perez led off with a walk and moved to second on Jeff Kobernus' single before scoring on the first of two Justino Cuevas sacrifice flies.

Hagerstown took the lead for good and made a winner of Applebee (2-2) with the three-run fourth. J.P. Ramirez walked and Sandy Leon singled to set up a run-scoring double for Kobernus and Cuevas' two-run single.

Rome picked up two runs in the fifth on an RBI double by Chris Curley and a run-scoring single by Matt Weaver.

The Suns added a run in the fifth when Leon doubled. They picked up another run in the seventh off Rome reliever David Francis on a Leon sacrifice fly.

Hagerstown added the final blow in the eighth when Peres reached on an error by shortstop Edward Salcedo, stole second and took third on a balk. Cuevas hit his second sacrifice fly before Stephen King singled and Justin Bloxom was hit by a pitch to set the table for Hood's towering home run to center field.

The win was important to the Suns, but the outing was more important to Olsen.

"After I came in in the fourth inning, I asked if I could go out for the fifth," Olsen said. "They said 'We'll talk about it.' I'd like the process to move faster, but I can't do anything about it."

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