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Nationals' prospect Lucas Giolito makes Grapefruit League debut, throws two scoreless

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Washington Nationals' prospect Lucas Giolito tossed two scoreless frames against the Miami Marlins this afternoon in his Grapefruit League debut. Nats' skipper Dusty Baker was impressed with the 21-year-old's stuff and his demeanor on the mound.

Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

It's a fairly standard question asked of young pitchers when they get interviewed early in their careers: "What's in your repertoire?"

It's not often, however, that you get as good an answer as the one Lucas Giolito provided to 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier earlier this week.

"He has good control, good command and a good demeanor on the mound. Doesn't look like he gets easily rattled too much, but if I had that stuff I wouldn't be easily rattled either." -Dusty Baker on Lucas Giolito's Grapefruit League debut

"I'm 6'6'', so I get a good amount of leverage," Giolito said when asked to describe his stuff and his makeup for any fans who haven't seen him yet.

"Good fastball, try to throw it low in the zone, try to throw it inside a lot. I'm actually throwing a two-seamer this year, which is I think going to really help getting ground balls, getting weak contact with the fastball.

"Curveball, it's a big strikeout pitch for me if I can get ahead in the count and changeup, which I feel comfortable throwing in any part of the count.

"As far as my makeup goes, that's something worked on a lot last year, just being calm, cool and collected on the mound and making one pitch at a time."

Good as his curveball is, and scout's rave about it, the mature-for-his-age, 21-year-old right-hander said he knows that he can't fall in love with it.

"It's a good pitch," he said. "I like throwing it a lot, but it's a pitch that you've got to throw off the fastball, it's a pitch that you've got to mix in at the right times. Experienced hitters will be able to sit on a good curveball not matter how good it is, so you just have to know when to throw it."

He has a plus, plus fastball too, which is what he's focusing on while he's in Spring Training with the big league club, soaking up everything he can from the veteran starters he's surrounded by right now.

"Fastball command, that's the biggest thing for me," Giolito explained.

"Fastball command was pretty good today. That's the main thing I'm focusing on. Commanding the four-seam fastball to both sides and throwing the two-seamer, allowing it to move and throwing that to location..." -Lucas Giolito on first Grapefruit League start

"I feel like I can stay in the strike zone. I don't walk a ton of guys. The big thing for me, especially what you need at the higher levels is being able to throw that fastball in and out, in the strike zone when you want to. And that's what I want to be able to work on the most."

Giolito made his first Grapefruit League appearance on Friday, throwing 30 pitches total, 22 for strikes to the eight batters he faced, striking out the side in his first inning of work in the fourth, and working around a leadoff single in another scoreless frame in the sixth.

"He was very good," Nats' skipper Dusty Baker told reporters after the game. "He had a very good breaking ball early, but he had one in practice. You know what I mean? I'm not surprised.

"He has good control, good command and a good demeanor on the mound. Doesn't look like he gets easily rattled too much, but if I had that stuff I wouldn't be easily rattled either."

"Fastball command was pretty good today," Giolito said. "That's the main thing I'm focusing on.

"Commanding the four-seam fastball to both sides and throwing the two-seamer, allowing it to move and throwing that to location as well. Two-seamer is new, I threw a few of them today and it worked out pretty well."

"I was probably a little anxious early in the game," Giolito admitted, "because I was relieving and it's not something I'm used to doing, but once I was out there I felt fine, pretty natural, pretty normal."

Baker talked before today's game about some pitchers not necessarily having their breaking stuff working this early in camp, but Giolito had it working today against the Marlins.

"It's something that I always keep in my back pocket," he said, "and the good thing now is I feel like I can throw it any count and it will be an effective pitch. It used to only be a pitch that I could throw if I was ahead, 0-2, 1-2, maybe 0-0, now I'll throw it 2-1 behind in the count, I don't really care. I feel like I have pretty good control over that pitch now."