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Good news, bad news for Scott Olsen and his labrum

Jul 21, 2009, 2:32 PM EDT

After an MRI exam and trip to see Dr. James Andrews in Alabama, Scott Olsen has opted for season-ending shoulder surgery. However, as Chico Harlan of the Washington Post
explains the good news is that Olsen’s left labrum is only partially
torn and the surgery could enable him to be ready for spring training.

By comparison a fully torn labrum would’ve meant more than a year of
recovery and rehab, at which point there would be plenty of questions
about Olsen’s stuff bouncing back. Instead team doctor Wiemi Douoguih
seems confident that the surgery won’t be career-threatening, opining
that “there’s a 90-percent likelihood this will just be a clean-up
procedure.” Here’s more from the man who’ll be cutting Olsen open:

What it appears is that he’s got a small tear of the labrum. The
rotator cuff looks to be in good condition. Nine times out of ten this
is just a clean-up procedure, with the idea that they’re back to being
competition-ready in three months. And that’s the goal here. Every once
in a while you go in and find something a little more extensive.

If it’s just a clean-up procedure it’s probably three months before
he’s back to being competition-ready. If it’s more extensive it could
be pushed back later. That’s part of the reason we want to take care of
that now for him, so it doesn’t encroach on spring training of next
year.

Of course, even if Olsen comes back healthy there are still plenty of
questions about his long-term outlook. Setting aside the ugly 6.03 ERA
that he posted in 11 starts after being traded to Washington this
winter, Olsen came into the season at 31-37 with a 4.63 ERA, mediocre
strikeout rate, and poor control in 101 career starts. His velocity has
declined from the low-90s to high-80s, he’ll be 26 years old before
throwing his next pitch, and is about to get expensive via arbitration.

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