BRADENTON, Fla. -- Lefty Scott Olsen has much to prove this spring in his efforts to win a spot in the Pirates' Opening Day rotation. His urgency to prove he's healthy, however, will not outweigh the club's desire to be cautious when it comes to his spring workload.
Given the issues that have plagued Olsen's left shoulder the last two years, he and the Pirates sat down in December to formulate a plan as to how he would build up his arm to get ready for the season. The consensus was to take things a little slower than he had in the past.
Olsen has thrown off the mound just three times so far, and his fourth session is scheduled to come on Wednesday. He reported that he has had no discomfort with his shoulder thus far.
"I'm hoping that everything stays healthy and that we can progress in the right direction," Olson said. "We haven't had any setbacks. No issues. It's early, and we're taking the proper steps and precautions that we need to take."
The delayed progression will not affect Olsen's ability to compete for that rotation spot. He will still be able to log a sufficient number of innings in Grapefruit League play, assuming, of course, that there are no more setbacks with his shoulder. Olsen and Charlie Morton appear to be the front-runners for the final rotation opening.
"He feels he's in a good place right now," manager Clint Hurdle said. "We're not pushing him, but we're not backing off. He's taking on what he can take on day by day. He's very upbeat with where he is right now as far as Spring Training being two days old."