Stammen willing to be reliever for Nationals

Nationals right-hander Craig Stammen will be one of the starters competing for a spot in the rotation next year, but the team has not ruled out putting Stammen in the bullpen.

What role Stammen would have in the bullpen is not known. He would be considered an upgrade if he were in the bullpen. Stammen has experience out of the bullpen, making 20 relief appearances during his Minor League career. 

“Whatever they want me to do, I will do,” Stammen said. “I want to go into Spring Training and show them what I can do. They will decide what they want from there. I’ve also proven that I can get guys out and I can get guys out as a reliever.”

Stammen played all season with bone spurs in his right elbow, but he didn’t shut it down until after Aug. 29.  He had arthroscopic surgery to remove the spurs a little over a week later.

Stammen, who will be staying in the DC area after the season to rehab the elbow, said he is ahead of schedule and hopes to start throwing a baseball in four weeks.

In 2009, Stammen made 19 starts, going 4-7 with a 5.11 ERA. He wonders what kind of year he would have had if he didn’t have the bone spurs in the elbow.

“Just the way I was going in every start wasn’t how I was accustomed to — compared to how I felt last year,” Stammen said. “I’m going to feel a lot better than I did last year. Throughout the week, I’ll be working on things to get better on the mound rather than just be out there to pitch. I’m optimistic to find out why happens next year.” 

1 Comment

Back in 1964 the New York Yankees were going to convert Mel Stottlemyre, a sinker baller like Stammen, from a starter to a reliever. Ralph Houck heard about this and said that guy’s stuff is too good to be a reliever, don’t do that. Stammen has had trouble getting through the line-up a third time, but the truth is he has been dominating when he is right. Will he win 160 plus games like Stottlemyre, probably not, but he has the potential to win over 100. The problems the Nationals have is that too many of their current young starting pitchers that are healthy are high 80s pitchers, and not mid or low 90s guys. Strasburg may change that. If Stammen does not make the rotation next Spring, he needs to go to the minors to get straightened out, not the bullpen.

Harmon Davis-Manassas, Va.

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