Olsen intent upon remaining healthy in 2011

Olsen intent upon remaining healthy in 2011

Olsen intent upon remaining healthy in 2011
BRADENTON, Fla. -- While the Pirates have two weeks left to determine how -- or even if -- Scott Olsen fits on the Opening Day roster, the left-hander is singularly focused on something else, as the season approaches.

"There are no goals; it's all about health," Olsen said. "That is the goal. I can't have any goals unless I'm healthy. After two frustrating years in a row, that's all I want."

Injuries have been Olsen's biggest deterrent in recent years. The mild left hamstring strain that cost him precious time early in Spring Training could be considered hardly a setback after what the left-hander has experienced the past two seasons.

Olsen made just 11 starts in 2009 while dealing with a left shoulder injury. Left shoulder tightness cost Olsen time again in 2010. He finished the year with 17 appearances (15 starts), but without stellar results.

"There were times when I felt really good, and there were times when I felt terrible," Olsen said of last season. "I couldn't ever have a consistent feeling. It was just very frustrating having that all year."

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Olsen worked three days a week with a physical therapist in the offseason to improve the strength, range of motion and stability of his shoulder. He hopes that extra work prevents the recurrence of shoulder issues this season.

As for where Olsen might spend the season, much remains to be determined. He continues to be an option for both the bullpen and the rotation, though there is concern that Olsen might not have enough time to build up his arm to jump right into a starting role the first week of the year.

"I don't know," manager Clint Hurdle said when asked if Olsen is still in the starting mix. "He could be. I can't say no. I'll leave the speculation out there for people who want to speculate. I'll keep giving him the ball and see where it takes him."

Olsen made his second spring appearance on Thursday and allowed three runs on three hits, including one homer, and three runs in 1 1/3 innings. The left-hander has not been particularly sharp in either of his first two spring appearances.