In his last Grapefruit League outing before he starts for the U.S. against the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic on March 11th in Miami, FL, in a sold out game in Marlins Park, Tanner Roark is set to take on the Minnesota Twins this afternoon in West Palm Beach’s Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.
Roark tossed three scoreless against the St. Louis Cardinals in his first Spring start last Saturday, striking out four and allowing two hits in a 37-pitch effort. He told reporters, including MLB.com’s Jennifer Langosch, after that start that he was ready for the WBC after preparing for it this winter:
"I feel like I worked real hard this offseason, started to throw a lot earlier, just wanted to get the arm in shape," he said. "That was the biggest key to be ready for the WBC."
Roark is coming off a 16-win season in 2016, which saw the 30-year-old righty post a 2.83 ERA, a 3.79 FIP, 73 walks (3.13 BB/9), 172 Ks (7.37 K/9), and a .227/.309/.330 line against over 210 innings.
Roark talked this winter about taking nothing for granted heading into this season in spite of his success in his return to the rotation following a somewhat lost year in the bullpen in 2015.
“I still don’t like to go to Spring Training thinking that I’ve just got a free spot,” Roark said, “because I was once a kid in the minor leagues wanting to take someone else’s spot up here, so I never take that for granted.
“I don’t ever want to take that for granted, because that keeps the fire inside me to compete against every single person on the team.”
Roark’s final tune-up before the WBC gets underway at 1:05 PM EST in West Palm Beach.
Here’s the Nationals’ lineup for their Grapefruit League matchup with the Twins:
• NOTE: Today’s game is available on 106.7 the FAN in D.C. with Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler calling the action from The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, and it’s available via MLB.com outside of the nation’s capital.