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All eyes on Scott Olsen

You remember that shoulder problem he developed in spring training, well there is more.

The Marlins will be watching closely when Scott Olsen takes the mound Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates to open a three-game series at Dolphin Stadium.

The left-hander, making his first start of the season, is coming off shoulder tendinitis that caused him to miss most of spring training.

But the shoulder won't be an issue for Olsen, and neither will the bone spurs in his left elbow.

''Bone spurs have never bothered me, and I still got it,'' Olsen said nonchalantly. ``They say you can throw with it. The team gave me an option in 2005 if I wanted to have surgery or not. I asked them if I could throw with [bone spurs], and they said many guys have them and throw with them.

Oh, fabulous -- bone spurs also.  And Olsen is the only true major league caliber pitcher the Marlins have in the rotation.  This is just great.  Maybe bone spurs really aren't a problem.

But the fact he has been hurriedly stretch could be.

 Gonzalez said Olsen will be on a pitch count of about 100 on Friday, like every Marlins starter has been for the first week.

Olsen said his fastball is ''pretty good,'' but he wasn't able to refine his slider as much as he would have liked in spring training.

 ''We'll have to go out there and see which [slider] shows up,'' Olsen said. ``[Wiley]says the ball is coming out good, and if he's saying it's coming out good, then I'll take his word for it and not worry about the radar gun.''

 Scott's biggest problem this year is trying to remain healthy and if he can, with the bone spurs and being rushed, he should have a decent year.

But yet articles like the following are still being written by what are normally knowledgeable guys.

Scott Olsen was so bad in so many ways last season, giving him a few bullet-pointed areas to address hardly guarantees a turnaround. 

Yet neither the scope nor depth of the improvement he needs to achieve even mediocrity has deterred him from the pursuit.

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A 12-game winner as a rookie in 2006, Olsen last season regressed to arguably the worst campaign by a starter in franchise history. Give Olsen credit for his durability. He made 33 starts and totaled 176 2/3 innings. Yet no Marlins pitcher with at least 175 innings in a season has totaled a higher ERA than Olsen (5.81) in 2007.

In 2005 Scott Olsen threw approximately 100 innings, then in 2006 he was stretched to about 181 innings.  When a young pitcher is stretched for the first time the following year he will more than likely have an off-year.  The fact that Olsen didn't have a stellar year in 2007 isn't because he forgot how to pitch, it was because of the stress on his body in the previous year.  Most young pitchers go through this when they move to the big leagues.  Assuming the pitcher hasn't hurt himself in the process he will normally have a good year in his third year.

If Olsen stays healthy and viable he should have a good season.  If he doesn't stay healthy, he will end up playing for Dr. Andrews team.