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Figuring out bullpen roles

Mar 26, 2010, 2:40 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Miguel Batista is likely to serve as a long man in the Nats' bullpen.

VIERA, Fla. — Jim Riggleman all but named six members of his Opening Day bullpen this morning: Matt Capps, Brian Bruney, Sean Burnett, Tyler Clippard, Jason Bergmann and Miguel Batista. No huge surprises there, though Batista's name had never been uttered with so much authority previously this spring.

You had to figure all along, though, that Batista was strong candidate to make the club, if for no other reason than his track record. The 39-year-old right-hander has done just about everything in this game, from starting to closing to serving every other role in between. That versatility makes him valuable to the Nationals, who feel the need to carry a long reliever who can also make a spot start if needed.

Batista's numbers this spring — five runs, 10 hits in 8 2/3 innings pitched — aren't anything spectacular, but the club isn't making its decision based on that.

"Batista is one of those guys, for myself, I go on the track record of a long season," Riggleman said. "Last year, he pitched very effectively for Seattle, in the low-4.00's ERA in a tough American League, and handled a lot of roles. Pitched middle of the games, late in games,Read more »

  1. Sec314 - Mar 26, 2010 at 2:54 PM

    Bergmann seems like a nice guy, and I know he lays claim to being "the last of the Expos," but he sure hasn't looked sharp this Spring and has never really been that impressive. Maybe after five years its time to look for someone else to fill that role?

  2. Bill C-H - Mar 26, 2010 at 3:06 PM

    I think 11 pitchers to start is right. We know (and certainly hope) that the pitchers will change over the next 2 to 3 months. The 11 listed now is a "good start" and performance will sort out the July, August and September roster.

  3. Anonymous - Mar 26, 2010 at 3:10 PM

    I look at this list and it doesn't seem "good enough", I sure hope I'm wrong or a lot of 6-4 games that your still in are going to turm into 9-4 games quick.I hope I'm wrong.

  4. Anonymous - Mar 26, 2010 at 3:30 PM

    Lefty reliever Joe Beimel got a minor-league deal at $850,000 from the Rockies. You can't tell me the Nationals didn't error making a similar deal.E-Rizzo on that non signing!

  5. Bonzai!!! - Mar 26, 2010 at 3:32 PM

    You just get the feeling the whole bullpen this year is just waiting for Storen to arrive in the majors. You really don't have a closer that inspires a lot of confidence and that is always felt down the bullpen. If you have a solid closer, everyone steps up knowing we just have to "get to that guy." I hope Capps doesn't give us a long spring.

  6. Anonymous - Mar 26, 2010 at 3:48 PM

    I shudder to think about all the games these guys are going to blow.

  7. alexva - Mar 26, 2010 at 3:57 PM

    Miguel Batista = Julian Tavares with a little less knuckleheadedness

  8. Les in NC - Mar 26, 2010 at 4:01 PM

    I don't see this squad blowing around 40 games like the pen did last year! Having said that, I still think the Nats can top 70 wins this year which, to me, is good progress.

  9. peric - Mar 26, 2010 at 4:27 PM

    English, Slaten, Severino, Garate, Spradlin Novoa say: You don't need old man Beimel anymore, put us in coach we're ready to play.





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