Thursday May 23rd, 2024 2:30AM

Reese Olson to start 2024 on Tigers' Opening Day roster

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter

Despite spending most of the last three months in 2023 on the Detroit Tigers' major league roster, Reese Olson came into the 2024 season wondering just where he would be when March 28 arrived.

The former North Hall standout finally got his shipping papers on Friday. Olson will open the season right where he ended it: in the Tigers starting rotation.

“I got called into (manager A.J. Hinch’s) office, and they told me their plans for me and my new schedule going forward,” Olson said via text message on Monday. “Obviously, I’m very excited to get going and experience my first opening day. My family started making plans to make the trip up.”

Olson is expected to get his first start of the season on Monday, April 1, against the New York Mets at Citi Field in Queens.

Olson’s brother Griffin, now the head baseball coach at Chestatee High School, said getting a family group text from Reese was something they had hoped for but wasn’t certain would come until later in the season.

“Based on what we knew, we thought they would send him down and call him back up later,” Griffin said. So when we all got that text, it was super exciting for all of us. He’s worked his tail off and deserves to be there.”

It was Olson's second straight spring with the major league team. However, an illness prevented him from participating in spring training in 2023. But after being cleared as the season was set to begin, Olson got his first life-changing call in early June to join the Tigers.

Olson did not waste his chance. He made his Major League debut on June 2 against the Chicago White Sox, lasting five innings in an eventual 3-0 Tigers loss. He would post a 5-7 record with a 3.99 ERA and strike out 103 in 103 2/3 innings over 21 games, including 18 starts.

His second spring stint was far different. He started four games and pitched a team-high 14 2/3 innings, giving up 11 hits and four walks while striking out 14.

“I didn’t pitch in any games last (spring) due to illness, but I felt more comfortable this year with everyone, so I had a little bit less stress,” he said.

There were reports that the Tigers coaching staff challenged Olson to improve his arsenal during the offseason and spring training. Now, he says the plan is just to stick with the plan.

“There weren’t any real changes to my arsenal,” he said. It was more about being in the strike zone more, being in the zone more with everything, and continuing with the plan the staff has for me.”

Griffin said if anyone can stick to a plan and be successful, his younger brother is just the guy for it.

“He’s a perfectionist,” Griffin said of Reese. “He is constantly trying to get better and just works so hard. Even though we weren’t totally expecting (the call) this soon, I’m not surprised he got the call to stay.

“I know how he competes, I know his work-ethic. We believed in him that he could get here. It’s extremely cool to know he’s made it this far. But again, I’m not really surprised either.”

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