Gwynn eagerly awaits Strasburg's debut
Righty's former college coach hopes to attend big day
SAN DIEGO -- Padres broadcaster and San Diego State coach Tony Gwynn said he would like to attend Stephen Strasburg's big league debut, which is tentatively scheduled for when the Pirates play at Nationals Park June 8-10.If Gwynn can't make Strasburg's start, he will be sure to watch the game on his computer or TV. Gwynn has every reason to have interest in watching Strasburg pitch. Gwynn coached Strasburg, 21, from 2007-09. Strasburg went 22-7 with a 1.59 ERA and seven saves during his time at San Diego State. "I'm excited for him because this is what he has dreamed about -- to get to the big leagues," Gwynn said at PETCO Park on Friday. "Whenever that moment is, I will be very happy for him. Our chest will be stuck out at San Diego State. Whenever he is pitching, the computers will be on here. He is a San Diego native." Gwynn admitted that when he first met Strasburg, Gwynn wasn't impressed with what he saw from the right-hander. But former San Diego State pitching coach Rusty Filter felt had Strasburg had a high ceiling. After Strasburg started working out with the team, Gwynn began to understand what Filter was telling him. "Toward the end of October , Stephen threw a bullpen and you could see it. He was throwing 90 to 96 miles per hour," Gwynn said. "The thing that sets him apart is his work ethic. He is the hardest working college guy I've ever seen." Strasburg, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, has been dominant in the Minors thus far, going a combined 6-1 with a 0.99 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 45 1/3 innings for Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse. Gwynn said he was "not surprised" by Strasburg's success in professional baseball, but asked to predict what Strasburg would do in the big leagues, Gwynn said, "That's what we are waiting to see. Whenever that game is, the TV will be on him all over the country. Everybody is talking about him. They have seen him pitch in college and they have seen the highlights in the Minors. We'll see what he can do with the best hitters in the world. That's what we are all waiting to see. That's what the climate is all about. So let's go."
Maxwell optioned; Martin called up
SAN DIEGO -- Following Friday's 5-3 victory over the Padres, the Nationals optioned outfielder Justin Maxwell to Triple-A Syracuse and called up right-hander J.D. Martin, who will start Saturday against San Diego.
Maxwell, 26, was 4-for-33 (.121) with one home run, three RBIs and two stolen bases.
Martin last pitched Saturday for Syracuse and will face the Padres on six days' rest. For the season, Martin is 2-1 with a 2.97 ERA for Syracuse.
Strasburg holding own as a hitter
SAN DIEGO -- Entering Friday's action, Nationals right-handed prospect Stephen Strasburg was 3-for-8 with four RBIs. Padres broadcaster and San Diego State coach Tony Gwynn is often credited for teaching Strasburg how to hit.However, Gwynn would not let Strasburg go to the plate while at San Diego State because the coach didn't want the student to get hit by a pitched ball. "I take a lot heat for that," Gwynn said. "But I told him his junior year that if he would get 10 wins, I would let him hit. I wasn't going to let people take a free shot at him. He had to stick to batting practice and pitcher's BP. He's an athlete. That's the thing about him that people don't recognize. If he had to shoot jumpers, he could so it. He fields his position really good. He has baseball savvy. The success he is having is not surprising."
Olsen to resume throwing on Saturday
SAN DIEGO -- Nationals left-hander Scott Olsen said he will play catch on Saturday after resting his left shoulder for seven days. Olsen has missed a start because of left shoulder tightness.Olsen said he is feeling much better and hopes to be throwing in the bullpen soon. On May 21 against the Orioles, Olsen pitched three innings, allowing four runs on six hits, one of them a two-run homer to Adam Jones in the second inning. An inning later, he allowed a two-run single to Craig Tatum. Olsen was scheduled to hit in the bottom of the third inning, but Livan Hernandez came in as a pinch-hitter and struck out. Olsen, who is 2-2 with a 3.77 ERA in eight starts for the Nationals, will most likely pitch in a rehab assignment before being activated from the disabled list.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.