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No need for Nats to rush Fister back

Mar 28, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT

Associated Press Associated Press

The news that came out of Viera yesterday about Doug Fister could under no circumstances be considered positive. Just when it looked like the right-hander was on track to start the season on time, he was pulled from a minor-league game after only one inning with a strained lat muscle.

Fister will be examined today in Washington by team orthopedist Wiemi Douoguih, after which the Nationals will make a decision how to proceed.

Here’s a nickel’s worth of advice: Don’t take any chances here. Take the overly cautious route. There’s no sense trying to rush Fister back.

In some ways, it kind of felt like the Nationals were doing just that with Fister over the last two weeks. Despite missing three weeks with elbow inflammation, the right-hander was determined to start the season on time and pitch the Nationals’ April 6 game against the Braves. But that might have been asking too much of the 30-year-old.

Fister was trying to cram a month’s worth of spring training into three weeks. If all went well, he would have made his Nationals debut after only four spring outings, three of them in minor-league games. Could that have been done? Sure. Was it worth it to try to get it done? That’s debatable.

Would it have been the end of the world if Fister spent one more week in Florida, making one more preparatory start before joining his teammates around April 11 or so? Not in the least.

The Nationals need Fister for the long haul, not the short term. They acquired him from the Tigers over the winter because of his track record, counting on him to make 30 starts, pitch 200 innings and help anchor the back end of what already was one of baseball’s best rotations. But if he winds up making 29 starts and pitching 193 innings, no one would have any right to complain.

Besides, the Nationals appear to have a more-than-capable fill-in for Fister in the form either of Tanner Roark or Taylor Jordan. Both young right-handers pitched well last season in brief rookie stints, and both pitched well enough this spring to merit a spot in the Opening Day rotation.

The Nationals planned to choose one over the other as their No. 5 starter, sending the loser to Class AAA Syracuse to open the year. Now they simply can keep both in the big-league rotation until Fister is ready.

Are Roark and Jordan likely to be as good as a healthy Fister? Probably not. But each certainly looks capable of holding his own and giving his team a chance to win each time he takes the mound.

The Nationals are in such better position to deal with this kind of thing now than they were a year ago. Imagine what would have happened had, say, Dan Haren suffered a late-spring injury. Chris Young would have been part of the Opening Day rotation, slinging 84 mph fastballs up there and praying for the best. (Obviously, Haren wound up struggling big-time through the season’s first half, but it’s not like any potential replacement at the time would have been better.)

We spent so much time this spring wondering who would be the Nationals’ No. 5 starter, we might have forgotten that it was far more important to make sure they had a capable No. 6 starter ready to go in case of emergency. Turns out they indeed have one. Shoot, they’ve got a perfectly capable No. 7 starter in Ross Detwiler, if the need arises.

Taking all that into consideration, there’s simply no reason to try to rush Fister back. Even if the lat strain is deemed insignificant and he’s cleared to pitch again in a few days, the Nationals would be wise to take the slow-and-steady path here.

As much as they’d love to have Fister take the mound for them on April 6, don’t you think they’d much rather have him take the mound on May 6 — and beyond — with a healthy elbow, a healthy lat muscle and a right arm that has had ample time to get into regular-season shape?

  1. rabbit433 - Mar 28, 2014 at 7:04 AM

    A healthy Fister may win 15 games in a season. By today’s standards that is excellent. A replacement (one of ours) may win 10 or 12. That should suffice for a championship team, especially with the pitching staff and lineup we are supposed to have.

  2. natsjackinfl - Mar 28, 2014 at 7:15 AM

    I am a member of the “don’t fret about things not in your control” club but I must say, the Nats seem to be attempting to control the injury status of one Doug Fister and for that, I applaud. He can skip a start or two with out any significant problem for the Nats and I believe in both Roark and Jordan, Bring on the regular season!

    • Eric - Mar 28, 2014 at 7:49 AM

      +1!

    • Hiram Hover - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:12 AM

      “fret about things not in your control”

      isn’t that the official motto of the intertoobz?

  3. sjm308 - Mar 28, 2014 at 7:31 AM

    Have a nice off day commentors
    Planning a nice little tour of Md. Wineries after my workout.
    Start with our favorite, Black Ankle, head to Old Westminster & then maybe one more.

    Hoping the Nats will let us know sooner rather than later about Saturday’s game but I will probably go just to see the ballpark again & hopefully meet my new agent

    Go Nats

    • janebeard - Mar 28, 2014 at 10:22 AM

      Looove Black Ankle! have fun today!

  4. nats128 - Mar 28, 2014 at 7:41 AM

    Im away for a day and find this. When it just looked like depth would be fine since Roark wouldnt be going to the bullpen and then Ohlie, now Roark goes into the starting rotation with Taylor Jordan and Ohlie to the 60 Day DL. I read Ryan Zimmerman has ice packs on his abdomen and shoulder. This is the man 3 years ago that had abdomen surgery and last year shoulder surgery again.

    I will keep telling myself everything is just fine.

    • NatsLady - Mar 28, 2014 at 7:54 AM

      I remember reading that Werth said, this time of year you feel all your old injuries. But I’m fine, I’m good to go.

      Zim’s not a fresh-faced rookie any more. He’s feeling his old injuries. He’s looking forward to the hot tub a lot more than he used to. He’ll be fine. (I hope).

    • NatsLady - Mar 28, 2014 at 7:57 AM

      You gotta punctuate. I read that as “Taylor Jordan and Ohlie to the 60 Day DL.” I panicked. Man, it’s cold and windy on this d*** ledge.

      Luckily, I gave it a second read.

      • nats128 - Mar 28, 2014 at 8:25 AM

        Whoops. Sorry. I need auto-correct to add those punctuation thingies.

      • Eric - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:38 AM

        I had the same reaction NL!

    • Jb - Mar 28, 2014 at 8:41 AM

      One word: tinyurl

      Another word: bit.ly

      One HTML tag: <a href=

      Pick one. Use it. Please.

      • nats128 - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:19 AM

        If you are doing it from your phone, good luck being a HTML programmer.

      • pdowdy83 - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:29 AM

        Was that really necessary? The link works just the same and there was no need to be rude about it.

      • naterialguy - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:34 AM

        uh I thought we spoke english on this board?

      • Eric - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:39 AM

        While NL’s link doesn’t bother me in the least, I write html on my phone all the time…it’s slow, but totally doable.

      • NatsLady - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:00 AM

        Sorry, I forgot about people being on their phone. I’m on my computer and it doesn’t make any difference how long the link is.

  5. rabbit433 - Mar 28, 2014 at 8:01 AM

    Ah, a few sore bones…..the Nationals are so solid with the pitching staff and position players. Zim out for a while? Rendon, Desi, Espi (never thought I’d say that again. He’s HITTING the ball!), and AL, we still have a competent infield. Oh, and Ramos probably the best player right now. Yeah, things still are looking good. (Didn’t even have to mention the outfield)

  6. Section 222 - Mar 28, 2014 at 8:10 AM

    Oh Mark, didn’t you read the comments last night? The Nats are doomed because Rizzo didn’t hold on to Young and his slinged 84 MPH fastballs. :-)

    I thought all along that Fister should start the year on the DL because the schedule made it possible to minimize the No. 5 starter’s starts in the first 10 days of the season. Only difference now is that the Roark/Jordan runnerup will get a few more starts before Fister is ready. I’m not going to say, “no big deal,” but we’re in better shape with our rotation than a lot of teams, including many who don’t have any injuries at all.

    Not that it seems to make much difference now, but I would love some clarity on the retroactive DL’ing in spring training question. Anyone have a link to the actual rule? The Baseball-Reference summary suggests that you can’t go farther back than 5 days throughout the season.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/disabled_list

    • NatsLady - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:10 AM

      Retroactive placement may be made at most 10 days after the time of injury. When a player is listed as day-to-day before being placed on the disabled list, it therefore may pinpoint the date of the injury.

      http://indians.scout.com/2/569136.html

      You need to trust me on this, I have done it a dozen times in my other job. Because March 31 is the first day of the major-league season–for most teams–March 21 is the earliest a player can be retroactively placed on the 15-day DL IF he has not played in a subsequent MAJOR LEAGUE game (exhibition and minor league games don’t count). If a player is placed on the DL retroactive to March 21, his earliest eligibility is April 4.

      • Section 222 - Mar 28, 2014 at 12:13 PM

        Trust but verify, thanks for the link. :-)

        B-R’s summary is misleading. It’s not talking about Spring Training at all: “A player’s name can be put on the disabled list retroactively, dating back to the last day in which he took part in a game, but limited to five days. ”

        When you say that a player has to play in a subsequent MLB game and exhibition games don’t count, does that mean that Fister can be backdated to March 21, regardless of when his last major league spring training game was?

      • NatsLady - Mar 28, 2014 at 1:26 PM

        @Section 222: Fister pitched on March 22, so he can’t be backdated before that. However, the exhibition game against the Tigers doesn’t count (even if it’s NOT rained out), so even if he pitched tomorrow, his DL could be retroactive.

    • NatsLady - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:14 AM

      I suspect what Baseball Reference means is that you have to lose at least five days of major-league playing time because you can only use ten of the fifteen days in spring training.

  7. Faraz Shaikh - Mar 28, 2014 at 8:39 AM

    I am just mad (at no one) that we are not starting with what we planned. let’s hope we end it the way we want.

    • sjm308 - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:56 AM

      Faraz – name one team that comes out of spring training with what they planned?
      Braves – nope
      Rangers – nope
      Dodgers – nope
      Phillies – nope
      I could go on and on – it just doesnt happen

      enjoy the game of baseball and enjoy your team

      • Faraz Shaikh - Mar 28, 2014 at 10:45 AM

        I know, but still ticks me off.

  8. thelatencn - Mar 28, 2014 at 8:46 AM

    THE TRADITIONAL TEMPLATE ON HOW TO WIN 100 GAMES IN THE REGULAR SEASON:

    1. Your Ace wins 20 games.
    2. Your Number Two and Number Three win 15 each
    3. Your Number Four and Number Five win 10 each.
    4. Your Bullpen and Spot Starters win 30 combined.

    Look back at 2012, when the Nats won 98 and see how closely this works.

    1. Gio was the ace, winning 21, a scant one game above the template goal.
    2. Strassburg won 15, but Zimmermann suffered from poor run support for much of the season, and won only twelve. So his minus three, combined with Gio’s plus on, put us at minus two — e.g on track to win 98, which we did…because…
    3. Our Number Four (Jackson) won his ten, and our Number 5 (Detwiler) won his ten.
    4. And the Bullpen and Spot Starters won precisely 30, as required by the template.

    Would you take that same result this year? Then Fister, this year’s Number Four, only has to win 10 games. Personally, I think he’ll do better than that. even if he misses a few starts in April.

    • NatsNut - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:09 AM

      That’s a cool way to look at it.

    • adcwonk - Mar 28, 2014 at 10:16 AM

      Time to resurrect my “Wonk’s Way to .600 Baseball!” (which would be 97 wins)

      Win 2 of 3 when your top three are starting
      Win 1 of 2 when your #4 and #5 are starting

      Presto: .600 baseball!

  9. tcostant - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:02 AM

    4. Your Bullpen and Spot Starters win 30 combined

    Me: That is a lot of wins on #4. How many times in baseball history has that happened???

    • thelatencn - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:13 AM

      I don’t know, but it happened for us in 2012.

      • nats128 - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:20 AM

        Bam!

  10. NatsLady - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:20 AM

    Craig’s naïveté about what happens in clubhouses is so sweet. You’d think there’d never been any books or articles on the subject out there for anyone to read.

    • NatsLady - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:21 AM

      ooops, posted this in the wrong thread. DELETE.

      • wearenationals - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:38 AM

        I’m curiosity is making me leave NI to know what silly Craig is writing about now ;-)

      • NatsLady - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:57 AM

        @wearenationals: apparently the union is proposing that players who are suspended for PEDs become ineligible for postseason play (and bonuses). Craig does not approve.

      • NatsLady - Mar 28, 2014 at 10:02 AM

        So he’s saying, How are players going to monitory this? They have no control over what other grown men do, etc. etc.

        Jayson Werth made a player CHANGE HIS SHOELACES. Tell me again he doesn’t know what’s going on in the clubhouse or has no control over it.

  11. naterialguy - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:37 AM

    Dibble says “Fister needs to suck it up and start April 6th, be a man”

    • Candide - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:44 AM

      + Eleventy!!! :-)

    • Joe Seamhead - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:12 AM

      Dibble needs to understand that only being nothing but a total ass doesn’t make him a man.

  12. habs3 - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:40 AM

    The Nats realized Fister would not be ready for the season so they had to derive reason for putting him on the DL. Voila – the lat strain. IMO the doc will come out and say it is minor.

    • NatsLady - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:58 AM

      They couldn’t just say it was elbow inflammation?

    • sjm308 - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:59 AM

      not really – the sore elbow would have been enough
      Baseball doesn’t really follow a strict examination of a players injury
      Why can’t you believe what was said by the team?
      Too many conspiracy theories

  13. tcostant - Mar 28, 2014 at 10:19 AM

    I saw this deal, where you can buy some April Nats games at half price (before service charges), you might be able to do better on stubhub I I figure I will share. You end up buying these from the Nats with a promo code:

    Go to Nationals.com and then do the following:
    1.Click “Buy Tickets” next to the game of your choice.
    2.Enter TZOO in the coupon code box and click “Apply.”
    3.Select seating level and ticket quantity; click “Continue.”
    4.Either select parking or click “No Thanks,” then review your order and click “Continue.”
    5.Log in or create and account to finish the purchase.

    The Nats will welcome the following opponents to the nation’s capital in April:
    •Tuesday, April 8 at 7:05 p.m. vs. Miami Marlins
    •Wednesday, April 9 at 7:05 p.m. vs. Miami Marlins ($1 hot dogs promotion)
    •Thursday, April 10 at 4:05 p.m. vs. Miami Marlins
    •Thursday, April 17 at 7:05 p.m. vs. St. Louis Cardinals (Jackie Robinson Day promotion)
    •Friday, April 18 at 7:05 p.m. vs. St. Louis Cardinals
    •Monday, April 21 at 7:05 p.m. vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

    The following seating levels are available for these contests at Nationals Park:
    •Upper Infield Gallery (Upper Gallery Level) … $10 (reg. $20)
    •Outfield Reserved (Field Level) … $20, including a $6 credit for food or merchandise (reg. $32)
    •LF/RF Corner (Field Level) … $30, including a $10 credit for food or merchandise (reg. $55)

    For more information on the Washington Nationals, visit http://www.nationals.com.

    Book by April 20.

  14. NatsLady - Mar 28, 2014 at 10:29 AM

    Henry Rodriguez didn’t make the Marlins. He will either report to their minor-league camp or become a free agent again.

    • scnatsfan - Mar 28, 2014 at 10:42 AM

      Bring HRod back if for nothing more then to lead to may funny message board posts.

      And he led to the phrase being “HRodded” (to be placed on the DL for an injury that a player neither complained of or was aware of for the purpose of not releasing said player as he was out of options)

  15. DaveB - Mar 28, 2014 at 10:36 AM

    So .. Mark (and others) listed Det as the next in line if either Roark or TJ have problems (or anyone else gets hurt), but I’m curious how that would work. It seems like the timeline for Fister once he’s healthy is approximately 3 rehab starts to “stretch out” with 40/45 pitches, then 60 ish, then 80/90, so sounds like 2-3 weeks to be ready.
    Would it be similar for Det? or does the fact that he’ll have been pitching a little more regularly in the BP mean that it goes faster? If that is the timeline, does that mean we would need to either call up one of the Syracuse guys (e.g., Treinen or Rosenbaum?) for an emergency start or two, or would you go with several folks from the BP (Ross, Stammen, etc.) each going 2-3 innings for those starts while Ross stretches out?

    • Section 222 - Mar 28, 2014 at 10:44 AM

      Reasonable question given all the focus on stretching out pitchers in ST. But long relievers make spot starts without two weeks of preparation. Stammen has done it. Det moved from the bullpen to the rotation and back and back again in 2012 during the CMWang era. If they know he might be needed as a starter, they may put him on a starter schedule at some point, but I don’t think he’ll need the same ramp up time as a starter coming off the DL.

      Everyone loves the idea of a bullpen game, but it hardly ever seems to happen in meaningful games. Perhaps they pull him after 5 innings (which might be a good idea anyway).

  16. Brookstoor - Mar 28, 2014 at 10:49 AM

    The thread yesterday had too much Chicken Little action going on. User natinalsgo was acting in a particularly embarrassing fashion.

    • Joe Seamhead - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:15 AM

      I know many here will find it hard to believe, but I feel very positive on virtually all things regarding the Nationals.

      • chaz11963 - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:26 AM

        Yeah, I know what you mean. I have been watching and following them just about everyday for the past month. Overall, I would say they really look good. Hope that doesn’t jinx them!

    • Sec 3 My Sofa - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:19 AM

      Embarrassing? Really? Gonat has been called many things over the years, but that’s the first time I recall seeing him called that. FWIW.

      • Joe Seamhead - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:22 AM

        I didn’t get that “observation” either, Sofa.

      • Brookstoor - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:24 AM

        @sec 3, check out yesterday’s thread. Ctrl + F: natinalsgo and you’ll see someone metaphorically running around acting a fool.

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:28 AM

        Well, you’re certainly entitled to your opinion. Don’t happen to share it. It just seems like a shot out of nowhere at a long-time poster with a context of mostly well-thought commentary, is all.

      • natinalsgo - Mar 28, 2014 at 12:30 PM

        Because I suggested NatsJacks idea of Chris Young as a 5th starter and actually thought it had merit. Tar and feather me for following the point through.

        By the way, thanks Sofa.

    • sjm308 - Mar 28, 2014 at 1:04 PM

      at times gonat likes people to remember what he, Ghost and natsjack printed weeks or days earlier, making them smarter then the average fan. Natsjack doesn’t gloat over that kind of thing but the other two do.

  17. scnatsfan - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:09 AM

    I think the worst thing you can do for Det is have him bounce back and forth between starts and relief. For a guy who got injured a bunch last year I’d hate to see what happens if we constantly change his routine.

    • Section 222 - Mar 28, 2014 at 12:35 PM

      He did it in 2012 and did fine. The guy is not as brittle as some think in my opinion.

  18. letswin3 - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:20 AM

    Off Topic: The Washington Post (Kilgore) had a nice piece about Barrett this morning … how Matt and McCatty told him he had made the 25 roster, and how he called his wife to let her know. But the most interesting tidbit to me was that a minor leaguer who is not on the 40 roster (and that was Barrett until Tuesday) is typically paid $13,000 per year. I was surprised to see such a small figure …. could this be a typo, and they forgot a zero?

    • alexva6 - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:25 AM

      probably not a typo. most fans are unaware of the pittance paid to most minor leaguers.

      • jd - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:31 AM

        It’s not that small a pittance.

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:31 AM

        Indeed, it’s not a typo. I posted something last week, I forget when, from SI (unless I am remembering that wrong, too) about how little they get paid.

      • DaveB - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:42 AM

        When you consider the amount of money being spent in baseball these days, it certainly does seem a pittance now that preparation has become a year-round endeavor. IIRC there is currently a lawsuit (or grievance, or something) going forward based on the fact that it would average out at less than minimum wage. I would have to believe that over time minor league salaries will need to go up significantly, which may well mean fewer levels / teams and fewer players drafted.

      • sjm308 - Mar 28, 2014 at 1:08 PM

        jd – seriously, 13,000 for 7 months of work. I think that is close to food stamp area. This is why typically, these kids live with a host family. Think about a 26 year old with wife and kid bringing in less than 2,000 a month. I’d say its a pittance.

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Mar 28, 2014 at 1:38 PM

        $13,000 for 5 months (shorter seasons in MiLB) would be $2600/month, which is what you would make working full time at $15/hour. So no, it’s not much.

    • Hiram Hover - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:49 AM

      Great story.

      BTW – Barrett was on the 40 man already. He’s now on the 25 man.

  19. Sec 3 My Sofa - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:34 AM

    Here it is:

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/mlb/news/20140212/minor-league-baseball-players-lawsuit/

    “Most [minor league players] earn between $3,000 and $7,500 for a five-month season. As a point of comparison, fast food workers typically earn between $15,000 and $18,000 a year, or about two or three times what minor league players make.”

    • Faraz Shaikh - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:40 AM

      what was the argument one news anchor used: “you don’t want them to get comfortable on the first step of the ladder.” (something like that)

      • Faraz Shaikh - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:45 AM

        that was about minimum wage workers by the way!

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:52 AM

        No doubt said anchor was a Ferengi.

        211th Rule of Acquisition
        “Employees are the rungs on the ladder of success. Don’t hesitate to step on them.”

        I’m not sure which I like less, social darwinism or social creationism.

    • jd - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:49 AM

      I am shocked. I knew they didn’t earn much but I would have thought $35,000 – $50,000. I don’t know how a player with a family can afford to live on such a salary. You hear about career minor leaguers. How do they do it?

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:53 AM

        Well, in his case, his wife was working to support them for years, and he probably did something in the off-season (or not).

        How does anyone get by on minimum wage? Not well.

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:58 AM

        That said, I worked while my wife was in school, and she worked while I was.

  20. philipd763 - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:34 AM

    Lat strains can vary in how long they last. Desmond had one in 2012; he sat out the All Star game and was fine for the rest of the season while Michael Morse’s lat strain ruined his entire 2012 season.

    • Jb - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:56 AM

      He sat out the ASG and was out for several weeks after it IIRC.

      • Section 222 - Mar 28, 2014 at 12:21 PM

        Desi missed about 25 games from July 22-August 16 in 2012, and he did skip the ASG. Morse didn’t play until June, but he had a pretty good year once he did play: 291/.321/.470 with 18 HRs in 102 games.

  21. Theophilus T.S. - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:36 AM

    I’m a bit skeptical about the “one or two starts” prediction. A “lat strain” seems — to me — to be something for which the prescription would be “total inactivity” for the affected “lat.” Which suggests a need for a longer rehabilitation period, e.g., three or so starts once a cure is pronounced.

  22. jd - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:47 AM

    Not to mention 2 or 3 rehab starts. I think May 1st is not being too pessimistic.

    • Sec 3 My Sofa - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:56 AM

      Asking “May 1st of what year?” might be pessimistic. Perhaps embarrassingly so. ; )

    • Section 222 - Mar 28, 2014 at 12:36 PM

      I think May 1 would be just fine. Let him rehab slowly and correctly. We need him fully healthy for the long season and the post season. And Roark/Jordan will cover the 4 and 5 spots until then pretty well I’d say.

    • Sec 3 My Sofa - Mar 28, 2014 at 12:59 PM

      Of course it’s also possible that May 1 (of this year!) will turn out to have been bittersweetly, naively, optimistic. One never knows.

  23. 34natsfan - Mar 28, 2014 at 12:32 PM

    Sometimes print and online articles as well as the occaisonal blogs have good ideas. This is one of them. Management would do good to pay attention every once in a while. They have much better info than we do, but some things are just no brainers, and far too many times the teams still dont get it right.

  24. cayucosbaseballconservancy - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:51 PM

    The bullpen still is and was a question mark … not sure why Dan Kolko would think that Michael Gonzalez would get a call after failing to hold several runners from stealing. That’s something the Nat’s have made a big priority this offseason and spring. I think Cedeno before Gonzalez.

    In any case its why Detwiler is there instead of trying to hone some of the new off speed pitches he has been working on in the rotation. He could end up as their best reliever!

    I don’t see any grand plan as far as the bullpen. Both Soriano and Storen are HUGE question marks at this juncture. Barrett is brand new barely spent time above A ball. Clippard is almost a starter given the innings he has put in in relief! How long can that arm last doing that? Stammen is the only one who seems reliable. Blevins projects a good upside but he didn’t achieve it last season.

    The minors does not contain much in the way of depth beyond the rehabbing Mattheus. Can Garcia finally stay healthy enough to pitch regularly? Declarmen hasn’t pitched in a while. Are they planning on covering starters such as Solis and Trienen into back-end relievers to provide depth? Xavier Cedeno? Ohlendorf reliever or starter for the Chiefs again?

    • ehay2k - Mar 28, 2014 at 7:40 PM

      Didn’t Soriano save something like 43 games last year? And didn’t he show up this year in Viera, according to several people, in noticeably better shape than last year? Not sure he is a HUGE question mark.

      Storen is a complete unknown in ST. He is working on pitches and does not care if he gets crushed. To infer anything about his potential for a successful season based on ST is to completely ignore history.

      Det is there because he is a lefty, and throws hard. His stats to date scream that he is better suited to be a reliever than a starter. New pitches may help him, but even without them, I agree that he could very well become their best reliever.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
x-WASHINGTON 87 64 -- 0
ATLANTA 76 76 11.5
MIAMI 74 77 13.0
NEW YORK 73 80 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 69 82 18.0
Through Wednesday's early games
x-Clinched division title

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
THU: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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