"I think we let him down a little bit in the first inning," Williams said of an opening frame in which the Nationals' defense and Jordan himself made some mistakes in the field. "But he pitched his way out of it and he threw well the rest of the time he was out there. Good changeup again, fastballs in the strike zone, which was good."
Jordan overcame the early issues against the Astros to put together a strong start that left the '09 Nats' 9th Round pick with 19 hits and eight earned runs allowed in five games, three starts and 15 IP so far in Grapefruit League action, in which opponents have hit for a .302 AVG against him while he's walked just one batter and struck out 18.
On Saturday afternoon, 34-year-old right-hander Chris Young took the mound after Doug Fister's work was done and tossed 2 1/3 scoreless against the Miami Marlins, holding the Nats' NL East rivals to one hit and striking out three.
Williams threw Young's name out there as one of the three starters who is still competing for a rotation spot along with Jordan and 27-year-old righty Tanner Roark when he discussed the decision to send Ross Detwiler to the bullpen earlier this week, narrowing the field of candidates to the three right-handers.
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Through 10 1/3 innings this spring, Young, who missed most of the 2013 campaign with shoulder issues which eventually led to surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome, has allowed just eight hits and four runs, two on home runs, while walking four, striking out nine and holding opposing hitters to a .211 batting average.
Roark gets his latest opportunity to impress this afternoon when the Nationals travel to Port St. Lucie, Florida's Tradition Field to take on the New York Mets in Grapefruit League action.
Through three outings this spring, two of them starts, and 8 IP for the Nats, the 6'2'' hurler who made his MLB debut in 2013, has allowed nine hits and four runs, with two walks and six Ks from the batters he's faced, who have posted a combined .290 AVG against him.
With just a week left before the Nationals head north to the nation's capital for the final exhibition game next Saturday and then Opening Day in New York's Citi Field a week from tomorrow, the battle for the last spot in the Nats' rotation has yet to be decided.
In fact, right-hander Doug Fister's progress going forward could result in Matt Williams needing two starters at the start of the season though Fister impressed yesterday and appears to be on his way to recovering from inflammation in his right elbow which slowed him this spring.
Can Roark put together another impressive start this afternoon and further state his case for a place on the Nationals' Opening Day roster?
• Here's the lineup that will be backing him up as he takes on the Mets in today's game:
• And here's the NY Mets' lineup for this afternoon's Grapefruit League matchup:
Game time: 1:10 pm EDT from Port St. Lucie, Florida's Tradition Field. This afternoon's game is available on the radio in the nation's capital on 106.7 the FAN in D.C. and 1500 AM WFED. It's also available via MLB.tv, though it's the Mets' feed.
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