Olsen glad to be leaving USC

USC is known for its football program but the baseball program produces more than slouches. Shawn Olsen carved out a solid collegiate career, but health concerns led to surprising answers and the desire to begin his professional career as early as possible.

Talk about being picked by the Padres, whether they were interested in you before the draft and how you are feeling now?

Shawn Olsen: I never really talked to them before the draft. I didn't talk to them too much beforehand. They actually offered me last year, and we went over how I have been pitching a lot in college. I didn't really talk to them much this year, and they just picked me because of last year from the same scout or something.

I was pretty excited. I didn't expect to get drafted. I broke my shoulder right before the season, and took a fall on the comeback of my shoulder. And it kind of chose my route of the season, the way it ended up. I was planning on being a starter or a long reliever, and just working out my shoulder. But other than that, everything worked itself out.

I wasn't really planning on being drafted, because I didn't have the season I wanted to have, or because I wasn't really starting the game, because I usually was a starting pitcher. So yeah, I was pretty excited to be drafted by them because I wasn't expecting to be drafted. I talked to a bunch of teams, so there wasn't so much of a surprise there. But I was definitely excited to be drafted.

Having already signed, when are they going to get you out there?

Shawn Olsen: I actually just signed the contract (Wednesday), and I'm going to go out there on Sunday.

Talk a little about your pitches and the speeds you throw at.

Shawn Olsen: I probably through 89 to 91 with my fastball, and then my slider is about 75 to 80, and my changeup is about 75 to 80 too. I don't throw too hard (laughs).

So what do you consider your out pitch?

Shawn Olsen: Probably my slider. I didn't really throw my changeup here at SC, I don't really know why, but I don't know, my slider is probably my out pitch, and that's what it will be.

Being a starter before coming to USC, are you looking to get back to starting in the Padres organization.

Shawn Olsen: You know, they actually talked about it a little bit, and you know, I don't really care. Personally, I don't really mind the long reliever role, I like that. And I'll probably move up faster as a reliever, so it's not really a big deal.

As a reliever for the Trojans, teammates like Brad Boxberger felt very comfortable handing the game over to you. How did you deal with the pressure of preserving the lead?

Shawn Olsen: Everyday at practice, you kind of have to get a confidence about you. The Trojans prepared us really well this year.

Who was your favorite team and favorite player growing up?

Shawn Olsen: My favorite team has been the Yankees forever, and it's good to see the Rocket back, because he's my favorite player.

What is it about baseball that you love so much?

Shawn Olsen: Well, (laughs) it pays, and it's just fun to do. I really enjoy it. It keeps you in shape.

Do you have any idea of the Padres farm system? Where do you think you fit in their system?

Shawn Olsen: Well, first they need to evaluate my shoulder, see how good that is. And then they're going to tell me where to go from there. I go to mini camp for a couple weeks, I think it's the first two weeks, and then I'll be in Arizona for a little while.

When dissecting your game, do you feel there is an area you would call a weakness or something in your game that needs a little improvement?

Shawn Olsen: Oh yeah, definitely, you can always improve. Getting the ball down or whatever. Right now, I'm just focusing on being 100% healthy, you know. I had mono this year, and then I hurt my shoulder. So I would just be excited to have a healthy season. Stuff like that.

Now that you are set to start your professional career, what do you look forward to the most?

Shawn Olsen: To be honest with you man, just getting away from playing in college. We had a horrible year last year, and I love the guys on our team, but we had a bad coach last year that didn't do much. That's what I'm ready to get away from, Coach Kreuter.

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