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Washington Nationals: 2010 Starting Rotation?

In light of recent reports like's Ben Goessling's yesterday entitled, "Riggleman on pitching possibilities", which have said that Scott Olsen will have a spot in the starting rotation if he's healthy, it's hard not too read into Washington Nationals' Manager Jim Riggleman's comments in an interview with's Scott Van Pelt last night where he responded to a question about the 2010 rotation by mentioning six specific pitchers...

Jim Riggleman: "The top two guys there, [John] Lannan and [Jason] Marquis are both guys who have thrown 200 innings in the last couple years in their seasons, and a key part will be Scott Olsen, if he's able to get back to where he was a couple years ago throwing 200 innings for the Marlins, you know, he went through an operation and he appears to be back a hundred percent. Garrett Mock's got a real nice arm, we added [Miguel] Batista, Livan Hernandez, a lot of guys who have gone deep into ballgames, and we're not kidding ourselves, we're not saying that these guys at this point in their career that they are All-Stars, meaning Hernandez and Batista, but they do have a history of going deep into ballgames and taking a little stress of your bullpen which was a problem last year, we really put a lot of unwarranted innings on our bullpen."

So is it Lannan, Marquis, Olsen (if healthy) and then two of the three Hernandez, Batista or Mock? Stephen Strasburg? Headed to the Minors most likely according to Mr. Riggleman in the same ESPN Radio interview, unless he's untouchable this Spring and demands a role. Craig's Mr. Goessling wrote in the same post that Stammen might be a candidate for the long reliever spot the Nationals are still looking to fill. Stammen and Collin Balester were mentioned as bullpen possibilities earlier this winter...Shairon Martis? Matt Chico? J.D. Martin

Garrett Mock, who'll get the first start of the Spring next Thursday in a split-squad game, commented on the competition in camp this Spring in's Byron Kerr's interview entitled, "Mock: "Everything is running very smoothly", wherein the 26-year-old right-hander (who'll turn 27 in April) tells Mr. Kerr it's not like previous years in Space Coast Stadium: 

"It is a very different atmosphere this year in camp. I think that going into the season all of the guys they brought in are proven pitchers. They know how to win, they know they will be contributors. Everyone is competing for spots in the rotation, bullpen and roster. I absolutely believe in myself but it comes down to execution."

The latest word on the starting rotation from Spring Training, via Twitter at 12:30 pm EST on Friday, comes from Ben Goessling (@masnNATS), who Tweets:

"Livo gives the #Nats insurance if Wang, Olsen and Detwiler aren't healthy, but Rizzo said he doesn't have a leg up on young pitchers."

Since Wang and Detwiler are clearly not going to be healthy by Opening Day that doesn't clear up much. Washington Post writer Chico Harlan writes this afternoon in an article entitled, "Stammen could be a starter reliever or both", Mr. Riggleman clearly identified the soon-to-be-26-year-old Stammen, " a guy who could be a potential bullpen guy,'":

"'The other guys we kind of feel like are starters, based on what they've done in their minor league careers. . . . [Ross] Detwiler, we'd be thinking of as a starter right now. We think of J.D. as a starter right now. Right now, we look at Mock as a starter. You never say never, but for the most part Stammen would be the one guy who we think of as both ways.'"

So before a competitive pitch has been thrown, here's where the Nationals' 2010 Rotation stands:

  1. John Lannan - LHP
  2. Jason Marquis - RHP
  3. Scott "If Healthy" Olsen - LHP
  4. Garrett Mock - RHP, Miguel Batista RHP, J.D. Martin - RHP
  5. Livan Hernandez - RHP, Matt Chico - LHP
The Sporting's Stan McNeal posted his own projects for the Nats' 2010 starters in his, "Washington Nationals 2010 Preview" this afternoon: 
  1. John Lannan - LHP
  2. Jason Marquis - RHP
  3. Scott Olsen - LHP
  4. Livan Hernandez - RHP 
  5. J.D. Martin - RHP
No love for Collin Balester or Shairon Martis, huh?