Casey Janssen was signed to work the late innings where Tyler Clippard used to dominate the opposition. The start of Janssen's 2015 campaign will be delayed, however, as the veteran right-hander recovers from a shoulder issue.
"Opening Day doesn't look good for Casey," Washington Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier on Wednesday. "He had rotator cuff tendonitis. He's had it before. He had it last Spring Training. Knows how to deal with it. Got it late enough in Spring Training though, that it could affect his Opening Day status. He's a guy that, again, if he's not ready for Game 1 of the season, should be ready soon thereafter."
With Janssen likely unavailable at the start, some pitchers might have to take on bigger roles than they might have otherwise.
"Same thing we said about Tyler Clippard back in the day," Rizzo explained, referring to the fact that Clippard was a starter who was converted to a reliever and eventually became a dominant late-inning arm. With Janssen out, right-handers Blake Treinen and Aaron Barrett could be called upon to take the next step and take the ball in big spots.
"It's time to become what you become," Rizzo said. "We've got great confidence in the stuff and makeup of Treinen and Barrett. Tanner Roark is going to fit into the bullpen very, very nicely and be a big force for us down there. We like the bullpen that we have. It's a younger, less experienced bullpen, yes, but it's a stuffed bullpen and it's a bullpen that we have confidence in.
"We say [it] a lot, but guys are taking the next step and it's a good thing. It's guys that have been developed from within. They know our plan, they know our style, and they, again, had a taste of it last year and now we have a bigger role for them. That's how development works for us. It's -- we give them a taste, we see what we have, we evaluate them at the big league level, and we make our decisions in the offseason based on what we feel those guys are."
Can Treinen and Barrett take the next step? Will Janssen get by the shoulder issue and prove that the rough second half he had last year was just tied to the illness he dealt with after the All-Star Break? We'll find out soon enough.
How about some links to get you through the afternoon since there's no baseball today...
More Nationals' Bullpen Chatter:
• "So between now and when the Nationals’ opening day roster is due on Sunday afternoon, two more cuts have to be made." - "Nationals reassign Rafael Martin, Ian Stewart; final round of cuts looming" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
Another impressive inning from Blake Treinen, who may find himself pitching late innings with Casey Janssen likely opening season on DL.— Mark Zuckerman (@ZuckermanCSN) April 1, 2015
• "The Nationals brought more clarity to the final makeup of their Opening Day bench and bullpen Wednesday..." - "Nationals re-assign Ian Stewart, Rafael Martin to minor-league camp" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
• "Syracuse Chiefs pitcher Rafael Martin was one of three players the Washington Nationals sent to minor league camp on Wednesday." - "Washington Nationals assign Syracuse Chiefs pitcher Rafael Martin to minor league camp" - LIndsay Kramer, syracuse.com
• "The winding journey that Drew Storen has undergone over the past three years has prepared him for this..." - "Nationals’ Drew Storen overcomes struggles, relishes closer opportunity" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
Wednesday's Anthony Rendon Updates:
• "There is no timetable as to when Rendon will be back on the field. He will start the season on the disabled list." - "Rendon gets latest opinion, will open on DL" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com
Mike Rizzo said there's nothing structurally wrong with Anthony Rendon's left knee. No procedure; just rest & rehab. http://t.co/UIwvctO7Ha— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) April 1, 2015
• "A sprain is a stretch of the ligament. It has to calm down. It has to make sure that we get the pain out of there..." - "Nationals Pastime: Anthony Rendon to start the season on DL" - Chris Johnson, MASNSports.com
• "Given how long Rendon has been out and how much playing time he’ll still need to get in exhibition or rehab games..." - "3rd opinion on Rendon is same as previous ones: Sprained MCL" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
• "To no one’s surprise, Anthony Rendon will begin the season on the disabled list with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee..." - "Anthony Rendon to start season on disabled list, Jayson Werth likely to join him" - Chelsea Janes and James Wagner, The Washington Post
Boswell says the time is now for "these" Nationals:
• "Next winter, it’s highly likely Jordan Zimmermann , Ian Desmond, Denard Span and Doug Fister will be gone via free agency." - "The Nationals are on the clock" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post
My Col: Washington is on the clock. It's not the Nationals' last stand, but it's THESE Nats last stand, together. http://t.co/hEXB2F8Soc— Thomas Boswell (@ThomasBoswellWP) April 1, 2015
NATS BEAT: Zimmermann's rough outing; Frandsen released + 10th Anniversary
• "Harper feels so good right now that he feels like he is capable of stealing a lot of bases like he did in his rookie year." - "Staying injury-free vital for Harper, Nationals" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com
• "Marlins first baseman Michael Morse and right fielder Giancarlo Stanton both belted deep homers off Zimmermann..." - "Nationals Pastime: Zimmermann not worried after rough start, Nats make roster moves in crunch time" - Chris Johnson, MASNSports.com
• "Morse connected on a three-run homer off Jordan Zimmermann in the first inning, and Stanton blasted a two-run shot in the second." - "Zimmermann allows eight runs in final tuneup" - Joe Frisaro, nationals.com
• "Frandsen was manager Matt Williams' go-to guy off the bench last year and was productive, hitting .259 with a home run and 17 RBIs." - "Nats release Frandsen, send Gwynn down" Bill Ladson, nationals.com
Thank you to all @Nationals fans, employees, and staff! What a ride my wife and I got to partake in last season one that will never ever be— Kevin Frandsen (@KevinFrandsen) April 2, 2015
Forgotten. I know I played my ass off and helped win a lot of ball games and got to experience something I've been dreaming about for a— Kevin Frandsen (@KevinFrandsen) April 2, 2015
long, long time, the playoffs. Hope to land on my feet soon enough but thank you for all the love and support!— Kevin Frandsen (@KevinFrandsen) April 2, 2015
• "Nobody could have seen this coming, not Mike Rizzo, not Matt Williams, certainly not the 25 players who will make up the Nationals’ season-opening roster on Monday." - "Nats are banged up but far from broken as Opening Day approaches" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
• "'Nearly six weeks later, and with four days left before the season begins, Robinson is still standing." - "Clint Robinson’s strong spring could land him on Nationals roster" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
NATS PARK UPDATES:
• "By having a Virginia-themed stand at Nationals Park, all three local regions will be represented..." - "Nationals to offer a Virginia-themed food stand this season" - Kelyn Soong, The Washington Post
• "On the club level, the Norfolk Southern Club now has an elevated mini-railroad train track, a train-themed scoreboard that will display in game updates..." - "New items at Nats Park in 2015 centered around 10th anniversary celebration" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com
• "Enzo's Pizza is another new offering for 2015, with New York style thin crust pizza available in Sections 115, 210, 229 and 310." - "Prepare For Grilled Cheese and Fried Chicken Biscuits at Nationals Park This Season" - Adele Chapin, Eater DC
• "During Wednesday’s ‘What’s New at Nationals Park’ tour for media, the Nationals provided more details about some of the promotional items and events planned for this season..." - "Nats will give out R2-D2 koozies on Star Wars Day" - Scott Allen, The Washington Post
• "'If fans are in the park and they're experience challenges with the Wi-Fi, they should contact firstname.lastname@example.org,' Camillo said." - "Nats look to help improve Wi-Fi connections in Nationals Park" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com
NATIONAL(S) BEAT: Season previews; Facebook map; NJIT Projections
• "A powerhouse on paper for the fourth straight preseason, Washington looks vulnerable only to the disabled list in the NL East." - "NL regular season preview: Season hinges on ..." - USA TODAY Sports
• "Facebook released its map of MLB fan locations on Wednesday, with the newest data showing a steady border between Orioles country and Nationals territory outside of Washington, D.C." - "Facebook MLB fan map shows Orioles holding steady in Maryland" - Jon Meoli, Baltimore Sun
• "This is the 18th year that NJIT Mathematical Sciences Professor and Associate Dean Bruce Bukiet has published his model's projections of how the standings should look at the end of the regular season." - "NJIT mathematician's 2015 Major League Baseball projections" - Phys.org
• "Nats once again best team on paper, which, so far, has resulted in zero playoff series wins and many very cool airplanes." - "MLB Power Rankings: Nationals No. 1 despite themselves" - Tim Brown, Yahoo Sports
• "A day earlier the two were teammates with the Nationals, but Tuesday it was Blevins — wearing a Mets uniform..." - "New Met Jerry Blevins makes statement by whiffing Bryce Harper" - Mike Puma, New York Post
• "Max Scherzer gets the most money and Stephen Strasburg gets the most publicity, but here is a nod to Zimmermann to be the best starter in the majors’ best rotation." - "36 predictions for a parity-filled 2015 MLB season" - Joel Sherman, New York Post
NL EAST UPDATES: Utley update; Mejia's hair; Yelich <3; Teheran talk
• Mets: "Jenrry Mejia said he was like Sampson. If he cut his bushy hair he'd lose his powers." - "Mets' Jenrry Mejia ditches signature look after lousy spring" - Kristie Ackert, NY Daily News
• Phillies: "Jimmy Rollins is already gone. Cole Hamels is available for the right bid. Ryan Howard is available for any bid." - "Harry Kalas' call a factor in Phils fans' adulation of Chase Utley" - Casey Feeney, Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia
• Marlins: "The Marlins drafted Yelich with the 23rd pick in the first round of the 2010 draft out of California’s Westlake High School." - "Christian Yelich: His Upside and His Limitations" - Tony Blengino, FanGraphs Baseball
• Braves: "Julio Teheran's final start of the Grapefruit League season proved to be much more frustrating than he had hoped." - "After final spring outing, Teheran looks forward to Opening Day" - Mark Bowman, braves.com