Ollie vs. J.J.

I know. I know. Opening Day is Monday, but I couldn’t help jump ahead to Tuesday’s pitching matchup. Josh Johnson vs. Scott Olsen. That should draw attention. Many are predicting a small crowd. They may be right, but with kids out for Spring Break down here, it would be a fun game to see.

Olsen and Johnson were drafted by the Marlins in 2002. And Olsen, now with the Nationals, was a popular Marlin from 2006-08.

In Spring Training they faced each other, and Johnson hit a double off Olsen on a fastball. J.J. can expect more sliders on Tuesday.

“He got that hit off me, with this big grin on his face,” Olsen said on Sunday. “I had a smile. I tried not to smile. I gave him a pitch where he wanted it, but he still had to hit it.”

Asked if J.J. could expect some sliders on Tuesday, Olsen said: “Probably.”

Olsen said of Johnson, “I just hope he’s not thowing 98. I can’t hit that.”

Good friends still, Olsen says it’s definitely “different being on this side. But you’ve got to go where they tell you to play. There is a reason I’m over here. Somebody wanted me.”

Olsen said he knew when the 2008 season was over that he probably was being traded.

“I would have been surprised if I was staying,” he said.

Olsen is good friends with Ricky Nolasco, and the two spent the offseason playing catch regularly at Founders Park in Aventura, a community park between their apartment buildings. Olsen plans to keep his place in Aventura.

“I have no intentions of selling it, it’s way too nice,” Olsen said.  “I’ll be around.”

As for Nolasco pitching on Opening Day, Olsen said: “I’m very happy for him. That’s something I know he really worked hard towards doing. He really takes pride in that.

— Joe Frisaro

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