Taylor Jordan gets one last chance to make an impression this afternoon, though Washington Nationals' manager Matt Williams told reporters this weekend that there probably wasn't anything that could happen this week to influence the decisions on which players will travel to New York with the team for Opening Day with the Mets one week from today.
"I don't know if I would be able to see something in a particular game or a particular week on the field at this point that would say, 'Well, it's now clear,'" Williams said.
Jordan, 25, has stated his case for inclusion in the Nats' rotation over the last year-plus, rising from High-A Potomac to Double-A and eventually the majors last summer in his first full year back following Tommy John surgery and posting a 3.66 ERA, a 3.49 FIP, 11 walks (1.92 BB/9) and 29 Ks (5.05 K/9) in 51 2/3 IP with the Nationals before he was shut down when he reached his innings limit with much less fanfare than other recovering pitchers in the organization who followed similar rehab plans.
Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo told MLB Network Radio hosts Jim Duquette and Mike Ferrin last week that he thought Jordan, "pitched extremely well," when he was called up to the majors for the first time.
"Even better than his numbers in my opinion," Rizzo said of Jordan's stint with the Nats.
In Grapefruit League action this spring it's been more of the same from the '09 Nationals' 9th Round pick. Over five games (three starts) and 15 IP, the sinkerballing starter has given up 19 hits and eight runs, walking just one batter while striking out 18.
After his last start, against the Houston Astros, Jordan said that though his control wasn't where he wanted it, he was happy with the outing.
"I had some good movement on my sinker today and my changeup was working here and there," he said. "I was overall happy with it."
Jordan threw 69 pitches in five innings in that start, and he'll take the next step in his progression this afternoon when he faces the Miami Marlins in Jupiter, Florida's Roger Dean Stadium.
• Here's the lineup that will take the field behind Jordan if they actually play this one (it's raining in/on Jupiter):
• Pregame Tweets on Battle for 5th Spot:
Matt Williams on No. 5 starter: "As of right now, my mind is not made up."— Mark Zuckerman (@ZuckermanCSN) March 24, 2014
Williams said his mind isn't yet made up on #Nats' fifth starter - Jordan or Roark. Rain today could affect Jordan's throwing schedule.— Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) March 24, 2014
Game time: 1:05 pm EDT this afternoon. Today's Grapefruit League game between the Nationals and Marlins is available via MLB.com's Gameday Audio, though it's the Marlins' feed.
Who's Listening to the Nationals?