Results tagged ‘ John Lannan ’

Game 131: Cardinals at Nationals

Mike Fiammetta here, helping out Bill Ladson on the blog. The Nationals get the Cardinals’ tough right-hander Adam Wainwright tonight, while Gio Gonzalez takes the mound looking for his 17th win. As always, following along on Nationals.com during the game.

Suddenly, all the bad vibes from last week’s road trip are washed away as the Nationals look to push their winning streak to three games on Friday night. Last night’s 8-1 win over the Cardinals was exceptionally satisfying for the Nats, who received a scoreless one-hit, eight-inning gem from Edwin Jackson and multi-hit games from five different batters.

But with tomorrow being the Sept. 1 date for roster expansion to 40 players, much of the pre-game talk addressed the Nats’ roster. Bill will have all the details in the notebook, but manager Davey Johnson said Sandy Leon, John Lannan and Eury Perez are expected to join the team on Saturday. Mark DeRosa (left abdominal strain) is also expected to be activated from the disabled list tomorrow.

-Henry Rodriguez underwent an operation today to remove a bone fragment from his right elbow. Head Team Physician Dr. Wiemi Douoguih performed the surgery in New York, and the Nats are shooting for Rodriguez to be “full-go” at the beginning of spring training.

“Henry has got great upside,” general manager Mike Rizzo said. “He’s a power pitcher, and if this injury prevented him from performing at his accustomed level, then that’s a good thing because when he gets healthy, he’s going to revert back to the guy that we saw in spring training and the guy we saw in the beginning of the season.”

-Lucas Giolito also went under the knife, but for Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Dr. Louis Yocum performed the surgery in Los Angeles, though Rizzo didn’t elaborate any further.

-Chien-Ming Wang will make one more minor-league start, while Jhonatan Solano will report to the instructional league in Florida to stay in shape in case of an injury at the Major League level.

Bill will have more in the notebook. Here are tonight’s lineups:

Cardinals (71-60)

  1. Jon Jay CF
  2. Carlos Beltran RF
  3. Matt Holliday LF
  4. Allen Craig 1B
  5. Yadier Molina C
  6. David Freese 3B
  7. Skip Schumaker 2B
  8. Pete Kozma SS
  9. Adam Wainwright RHP

Nationals (79-51)

  1. Jayson Werth RF
  2. Bryce Harper CF
  3. Ryan Zimmerman 3B
  4. Adam LaRoche 1B
  5. Michael Morse LF
  6. Ian Desmond SS
  7. Danny Espinosa 2B
  8. Kurt Suzuki C
  9. Gio Gonzalez LHP

Nats Inbox: Beat reporter Bill Ladson answers Nationals fans’ questions

Are you finally on the Roger Bernadina bandwagon? He is having his best year offensively and we all saw his awesome catch against the Astros. Do you see him settling in as the Nats’ fourth outfielder during the foreseeable future or do you think he’ll be swimming in different waters next season?
— Tyler and Terry, Washington DC

I’ve always been on the Bernadina bandwagon. I’m simply not fond of the nickname, “The Shark,” because he doesn’t put up Albert Pujols numbers. I prefer the name, “Speed Racer,” because of the way he runs the bases.

There is no question that Bernadina is having a great year. I love the way he outplayed Rick Ankiel, who was released last month. Bernadina is having great at-bats — it helps that he shortened his swing — and playing great defense. He could be a fourth outfielder for years to come. I don’t see him playing every day for the Nationals. He could be trade bait during the offseason.

The Nats bullpen has been great this year. But they have been used a lot. Manager Davey Johnson seems reluctant to have his starters pitch the last three innings of a game — even if the pitch count is low. If this is going to be a postseason team, won’t they need a fresh bullpen? Is this just part of Davey’s managing personality?
— Chris, Marlborough, CT

I spoke to Johnson recently and he doesn’t want to over use his pitchers before the postseason begins. During the month of September, I expect the Nationals to call up extra relievers such as Christian Garcia, so I expect the Nationals’ bullpen to be rested by the postseason.

When Ian Desmond returns, I would assume that Jayson Werth will lead off and Ian Desmond will hit sixth. Is this what you think also?
— Jamie, New Brunswick, Canada

It’s hard to say. If both players can stay healthy, I could see both players leading off from time to time. I can also see Danny Espinosa leading off once in a while. During the offseason, it would not surprise me if the Nationals were looking for a leadoff hitter.

With the development of Bryce Harper, I do not see the urgency to acquire a center fielder for next season. They are overloaded in the outfield already. Do you agree?
— Rich R., Washington DC.

I disagree. They have almost nothing but corner outfielders. I think Harper is a better as a right or left fielder. While Bernadina is having a great year defensively in center field, the Nationals consider him a corner outfielder. They center fielder could come from the Minor League system [Eury Perez] or free agency [Michael Bourn].

With Adam LaRoche having a mutual option for next season, do you think he will decline his option due to such a great season? I was thinking that if LaRoche picks up the option as well as the Nats, the team could decide to deal either LaRoche or Michael Morse, get good value in return and then go after a center fielder in a trade.
— Alex H., London, England

It’s too early to answer the question about LaRoche and the mutual option. I think both sides will deal with the option after the season. I don’t think Morse will be traded because he has one more year left on his contract and could be put at first base for next year.

There is possibility they could wait for Perez and Brian Goodwin, but I’m expecting the Nationals to trade for a center fielder or sign one during the free agency period.

Although John Lannan has struggled this season at Triple A Syracuse, with his success with the Major League team, do you see a long-term future with him in the rotation again?
— Ben S. Concord. N.C.

The answer is no. It would not surprise me if he was non-tendered after the season. Provided that everybody is healthy or re-signed for next year, I see the rotation like this: Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Edwin Jackson and Ross Detwiler.

– Bill Ladson

Nats tender contracts to five, agree to terms with two others

Entering Thursday, the Nationals had 10 players who were eligible for salary arbitration. Five of them — pitchers Sean Burnett, John Lannan and Doug Slaten and outfielders Michael Morse, and Josh Willingham — were tendered contracts, while catcher Jesus Flores and infielder Alberto Gonzalez agreed to terms on new deals. However, catcher Wil Nieves and right-handers Joel Peralta and Chien-Ming Wang became free agents.

Letting Nieves and Wang walk was not a surprise, for the Nationals are loaded with catchers, which made Nieves expendable, and Wang pitched in 24 games in the past three seasons.

However, letting Peralta get away was a surprise. Peralta had the best season of his career, posting a 2.02 ERA in 39 games. He allowed one run in his final 15 innings. General manager Mike Rizzo wasn’t available for comment.

Terms were not disclosed on Gonzalez and Flores. Gonzalez  is a valuable player off the bench, but his attitude must change when it comes to playing time. He was often upset when taken out of games.

Flores enters the 2011 season as the No. 3 catcher. It didn’t help that he missed most of the past two years because of a right shoulder injury. The Nationals haven’t ruled out Flores starting next season in the Minor Leagues.

Burnett, Lannan, Morse, Slaten and Willingham will have a hearing sometime in February unless they agree to terms with the club.

Of the five players, Willingham appears to the one person who could be traded before the 2011 season gets underway. Willingham is a free agent after the ’11 season and it is believed the Nationals want young players in return for the right-handed hitting slugger.

Lannan to replace Strasburg in rotation

The Nationals have decided that left-hander John Lannan will replace right-hander Stephen Strasburg in the rotation. Lannan, 25, will pitch Sunday against the Phillies.

It will be Lannan’s first big-league start since June 20th against the White Sox. In that game, he allowed five runs in four innings and was demoted to Double-A Harrisburg the next day. The Nationals believe that Lannan lost his confidence before the demotion.

At the time of his demotion, Lannan was 2-5 with a 5.76 ERA in 14 starts. His biggest problem was getting left-handed hitters out. They are 28-for-75 [.373] with two home runs and nine RBIs against him this season.

After his demotion, Lannan was inconsistent, going 1-4 with a 4.20 ERA for Harrisburg. 

Lannan, who was Washington’s Opening Day starter, will have the tough task of facing a Phillies team that gave him fits on Opening Day. Lannan allowed five runs in 3 2/3 innings in a 11-1 loss to the Philadelphia. 

Nats need starter for Sunday

With Stephen Strasburg not pitching Sunday against the Phillies, the team has to decide who will take his place.

One thing is certain, right-hander Jason Marquis will not pitch on three days’ rest like Ross Detwiler did Sunday against the Brewers. Marquis pitched Wednesday, allowing four runs in five innings for Triple-A Syracuse.

It also appears that right-hander Livan Hernandez will not pitch on short rest after throwing just 4 1/3 innings and allowing three runs on six hits against the Braves on Wednesday.  

However, left-handers John Lannan and Matt Chico are candidates to make the start. Lannan is having an up-and down- season in the Minor Leagues. In seven starts for Double-A Harrisburg, Lannan is 1-4 with a 4.20 ERA.

Chico is having a solid season in the Minor Leagues this season, going a combined 6-6 with a 3.46 ERA in 19 starts for Harrisburg and Syracuse.

The Nationals could also go back to right-hander Miguel Batista, who pitched five shutout innings in Strasburg’s place on Tuesday. As of Wednesday afternoon, Batista was not told if he would start against the Phillies.

Is John Lannan OK?

Left-hander John Lannan made his first start since May 2. He missed an outing last Saturday  against the Marlins because of elbow discomfort.

There was good news and bad news when it came to Lannan outing. He cruised through the first four innings. However, after sitting on the bench for a while in the top of the fifth inning, Lannan’s left flexor tendon start to stiffen up. Suddenly he couldn’t get his pitches down in the strike zone. The Rockies would go on to score four runs to make it a two-run game.  

Lannan lasted 4 2/3 innings and gave up four runs on six hits. He walked batters and struck out one. 

“The first four innings felt good and then [flexor tendon] tightened up on me,”  Lannan said. “It’s kind of tough to get out there and extend. The ball was up and I wasn’t able to make the pitches when I needed to. No excuses. It feels now. In that inning, it tightened up on me.”

While Lannan said he will be OK, manager Jim Riggleman isn’t so sure. The skipper is hoping that Lannan arm is feeling OK on Friday. Riggleman declined to say if he will make his next start, which is scheduled for Tuesday against the Cardinals.   

“I thought he looked real good, but he is still not totally himself –[a few walks] mixed in that we are not used to seeing in the past,” Riggleman said. “So I think he is making strides and he is getting closer. But the long fourth inning in the dugout and when he went out there in the fifth inning, I think that affected him. The elbow stiffened up a little bit.”   

Twitter Poll: Should Nats be concerned about Lannan

After the Nationals’ 9-3 loss to the Marlins, I asked a question to my Twitter followers: Should the Nats be concerned about LHP John Lannan? Yes or No. Why?

Of the 40 people who responded, 35 said the Nationals should be concerned about Lannan, while five others felt Lannan will be OK. 

Here’s what some of the Twitter followers had to say:

@Natss9: I am concerned about Lannen, but not worried. He has shown in the past he can bounce back.

@grlong85: The Nats should be concerned. The inability to go deep in games is already starting to hurt the team.

@szul: The Nats should be concerned that he might not be healthy.  

@Tdappel: Yes. Still, it is tough to ever ask him to be the ace. He has no margin for error.

@Davewordnerd: Yes. Lannan’s ERA is 6.34. He doesn’t get people out this year. Where’s last year’s ground-ball guy?

@PhillyStanatic: Yes, because he’s pitching poorly and left-handed hitters are killing him.

@LMurphyDC: I don’t believe the fans have confidence in him, and for your No. 1, that’s a problem. He’s not providing reliability.

@HendoDC: Eighty percent, yes (only one really good outing out of 6). Twenty percent, No: Men in blue were squeezing him silly today.

@deleowned: He hsn’t been good with Livo taking the “ace” pressure off his shoulders. Maybe the league is finally catching up to him.

@ScottGPoole: He is throwing strikes, but after starting well, he loses focus. That can be fixed relatively easily.

@ThisManDrew: Give John Lannan another start. It’s only May.

@Neuman85: I would say no. Hopefully in a month or two, Lannan will be the team’s No. 3 or 4 pitcher, which is where he belongs.

Riggleman names four pitchers for rotation [updated]

Nationals manager Jim Riggleman named four members of his rotation Monday. He said John Lannan, Jason Marquis, Craig Stammen and Livan Hernandez will be the four pitchers in that order. 

The order of the rotation was first reported by MLB.com on Sunday. 

Lannan will be the Opening Day starter against the Phillies on April 5 at Nationals Park. Marquis, Stammen and Hernandez will soon follow.

“I know they can pitch,” pitching coach Steve McCatty said. “We are not going to be the 96 mile an hour, jet blowing, No 1. Type starters who are 6-foot-6, but we have guys who sink the ball.

“When you have guys who can throw it up there and have some sink, throw strikes, mix in their off-speed pitches and compete, you know you have a good chance. Yes, I’m happy with [the rotation].”

Of the four starters named, Stammen and Hernandez appeared to be longs shots when Spring Training began. 

Stammen had bone ships removed from his right elbow last September and it appeared he would start the season in the bullpen or be sent down to the Minor Leagues. It turned out he was the second-best pitcher behind Stephen Strasburg. Stammen allowed five earned runs in 14 1/3 innings and struck out 10 batters.  

“The spring has gone well, so far,” Stammen said. “I came in healthy. My arm has felt really good the whole time. I had some success on the mound. Some of the hard work has paid off, but what you do in the spring doesn’t matter. All this stuff gets thrown out when the season starts. So I have to continue the success in April.”

Hernandez didn’t come into camp until late February and had to get into pitching shape. His first start wasn’t until March 14, but the late start didn’t hurt him as he allowed two earned runs in eight innings. 
      
“I feel really happy. I worked hard since I came to Spring Training,” Hernandez said. “I came to Spring Training knowing I could still pitch and help the team win.”                  
                  
The team must decide on who the fifth starter will be. Garrett Mock, Scott Olsen and J.D. Martin are competing for the final spot.

Not long ago, Mock was considered part of the rotation, but he has given up five runs in his last nine innings. That’s not including the disappointing outing last week against the Minor League Astros in which he gave up three home runs.

Olsen knew Sunday was his last chance to prove to the Nationals that he should be in the rotation. It turned out Olsen made the team’s decision even tougher in a 9-3 victory over the Braves. 

Olsen pitched 5 1/3 innings and gave up one earned run on seven hits. He struck out four and walked none. It was Olsen’s best outing of the spring.

As for Martin, he gave up five runs in five innings against the Tigers last Thursday. The first inning was Martin’s only bad inning as he blanked Detroit in the next four frames.

The last time Martin pitched in a big-league game prior to that game was March 10 against the Cardinals. Rainouts and too many pitchers in camp were the reasons Martin didn’t see action until Thursday.

But it wasn’t like Martin was rusty. He pitched in simulated games and on the Minor League field.

Storen overlooked; Lannan pitching Saturday

Right-hander Drew Storen is considered one of the top prospects in the Nationals organization, but he has been overshadowed by his teammate, right-hander Stephen Strasburg, this spring.  

That’s OK, said Storen, because Strasburg deserves the publicity after what he has accomplished in the last year. Strasburg went 13-1 with a 1.32 ERA in 15 starts at San Diego State University en route to being named the 2009 Golden Spikes Award winner. He struck out 195 and issued just 19 walks in 109 innings.

“I love it. I think it’s awesome. He 100 percent deserves the publicity,” said Storen, who was also a first round pick. “I’m just taking a back seat to it all. The Nationals haven’t received all this attention in the last couple of years. I think Stephen is going to be a big help. I don’t deserve the same attention. I’m not as good as he is.”

But good enough. Storen had a great first season in professional baseball, saving a combined 11 games with a 1.95 ERA for Class A Hagerstown and Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg.  It earned Storen a Spring Training invitation, but it’s more than likely that Storen will start the season in the Minor Leagues. Storen understands the team doesn’t want to rush him to the big leagues.

“I’m looking at the big picture,” Storen said. “I want to be a guy that helps this team win. I don’t want to be there for a cup of coffee. In the end, I want to have a career in the big leagues.”

*Storen has been going through the windup during live batting practice sessions in order to give the hitters a different look. This unusual because relievers go through the stretch when they are pitching in the late innings. Storen started doing the windup by watching Diamondbacks pitcher Dan Haren.

“I watched how Haren has that pause,” Storen said “Obviously, timing is big for hitters and [look to] can change their timing up and always keep them uncomfortable. If I can do that with my stuff and my motion, that is going to help me out.”              

* Catcher Jesus Flores will throw from 90 feet the next couple days. If all goes well, Flores hopes to start taking batting practice later in the week.

* Left-hander John Lannan will pitch against the Mets on Saturday at Space Coast Stadium, while right-hander Jason Marquis will throw against the same team the next day at Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie.

* Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, the television home of the Nationals, will televise Strasburg’s first spring training appearance on March 9th at 1 p.m.ET on MASN and MASN HD from Space Coast Stadium.

Strasburg is expected to pitch two innings for the Washington, but MASN will televise the entire game.

Lannan happy Marquis joined Nationals

Left-hander John Lannan is one person who is pleased the Nationals signed right-hander Jason Marquis to a two-year, $15 million contract last week. Lannan is expected to learn a lot from the 10-year veteran.

Last year, there wasn’t a veteran in the rotation to learn from until late August, when Livan Hernandez joined the team. Lannan, 25, was Washington’s No. 1 starter, and he wasn’t bad in that role, going 9-13 with a 3.88 ERA and two complete games.

Now Marquis will take over the top spot in the rotation, while Lannan drops down to No. 2. Marquis will help a pitching staff that finished 16th in the National League in ERA [5.00]. 

“Having Jason helps a lot because he had a great season in 2009,” Lannan said. “He has been on winning teams. He also knows how to win. I guess it’s kind of contagious on the teams he was on. Hopefully he keeps on going with that. He has learned from great pitchers.

“I actually talked to him in the middle of the season. He is from Staten Island and he stayed in Staten Island. It shows a lot of dedication. He is very grounded. It’s something we need. When Jason comes in, I’m sure I’m going to learn from him.”

Lannan said he never felt pressured being the No. 1 starter  in Washington’s rotation this past season. He knew he had a lot to learn in that role.

“I knew my role and we didn’t have the big-name guys [in the rotation],” Lannan said. “It was definitely a learning experience. I wouldn’t  have it any other way. I’m glad I was given opportunities to be in that that position. Every year I’m trying to learn. When Jason comes I’m going to learn from him.”     

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