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No ace, but Nats like rotation depth

Feb 15, 2011, 11:41 PM EST

Photo by Bob Youngentob for
Barring something unforeseen, Livan Hernandez will start Opening Day against the Braves.

VIERA, Fla. — On the day pitchers and catchers reported for spring training, Jim Riggleman didn’t hesitate to name his Opening Day starter: Livan Hernandez.

“Unless something unforeseen happens, Livan has earned it,” the Nationals manager said.

Not that Riggleman has a ton of appealing choices. With Stephen Strasburg shelved until at least September while recovering from Tommy John surgery, the Nationals are left without a bona fide No. 1 starter. And of the remaining options, Hernandez (who started Opening Day for Washington in 2005 and 2006) has the most experience and is coming off a strong season.

But what the rest of the Nationals rotation lacks in star power, it may make up in numbers. With Hernandez, Jordan Zimmermann, John Lannan, Jason Marquis and Tom Gorzelanny likely to open the season in the majors, and Yunesky Maya, Ross Detwiler and Chien-Ming Wang probably headed for Class AAA Syracuse, Washington hasn’t had this kind of starting depth since the franchise arrived in town.

Read my full story on the state of the rotation on

  1. Another_Sam - Feb 15, 2011 at 11:52 PM

    I'm at Charlie and Jake's sucking down a brewski right now. Free strong Wi-Fi. Great reporting, Mark. Thanks. I'm here on business but I'll be back later in the spring with a week off.

  2. Theophilus - Feb 16, 2011 at 12:20 AM

    Busy day. No sticky keyboard for you, 'eh?

  3. Another_Sam - Feb 16, 2011 at 1:02 AM

    IPad. No keyboard at all.

  4. Rabbit - Feb 16, 2011 at 12:11 PM

    I'm at work. No IPad. Sucking down coffee. I would rather see Znn start over Livo. Ahh, pitching is very iffy.

  5. joemktg - Feb 16, 2011 at 1:30 PM

    GET UP, MARK! AK has already posted. Let's go…

  6. Anonymous - Feb 16, 2011 at 4:13 PM

    The rotation may not be good, but at least they're not good across the board.if only the Nats had a big hitter with an expiring contract they could have traded for a front-line starter last year. "Now pitching, #30, Compensatory Draft Pick."

  7. DFL - Feb 16, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    Middle relief will be as busy this season as last season.

  8. natsfan1a - Feb 16, 2011 at 5:06 PM

    joemktg = Mark's dad. I'm not saying, I'm just saying… 😀





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