Saturday, April 3, 2010

Mock is fourth starter

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Garrett Mock beat out Scott Olsen for the final spot in the Nats' rotation.
[UPDATED AT 10:46 P.M.]

The Nationals have decided to go with Garrett Mock over Scott Olsen as the final member of their Opening Day rotation, but Mock will actually pitch the season's fourth game.

Though Olsen performed better over the last two weeks of spring training, including a strong start yesterday against the Red Sox in Fort Myers, Fla., manager Jim Riggleman said the club elected to take Mock based on more factors.

"The overall body of work," Riggleman said. "We couldn't put it all on one outing."

Olsen, who is guaranteed a $1 million salary this year, was optioned to Class AAA Syracuse and open the season there. Though he's made significant strides lately in his recovery from left shoulder surgery, the club believes he's not all the

"The consensus amongst all of us ... was that Olsen is really getting close to being where he was prior to the trade acquisition last year. He's just not quite there yet in terms of [being] fully 100 percent," Riggleman said. "He's really close. And yesterday's performance is evidence of that. Even though Garrett Mock had a little bit of a rough spring, we're still excited about what he can do for us."

Mock, who owns a career 4-13 record and 5.17 ERA in 54 big-league games (18 starts), could face a short leash with several other options either at Syracuse or on the DL waiting in the wings, including Olsen, Matt Chico, Ross Detwiler, Chien-Ming Wang and (eventually) Stephen Strasburg.

"The expectations that they have are high," Mock said. "But I expect a lot of myself. I don't feel any pressure. They believe in my stuff."

Olsen declined to comment before today's exhibition finale against the Red Sox. Agent Matt Sosnick expressed surprise at the decision and believed Olsen's track record would have been taken more into consideration.

"We believe that, based on the way that he pitched at the end of spring training, he is fully recovered and ready to be successful in the Nats' rotation," Sosnick said. "Pre-injury, he made almost 100 effective starts in the three seasons leading up to last year."

The Nationals will actually open the season with only four starters on the 25-man roster. Livan Hernandez, technically still a non-roster invitee, won't have his contract purchased until April 11; he'll start that game against the Mets in New York.

Washington will thus carry eight relievers on Opening Day. Though Riggleman didn't want to make a formal announcement of names yet -- in case of injury in today's game -- there are only eight relievers still on the spring roster: Matt Capps, Brian Bruney, Sean Burnett, Tyler Clippard, Jason Bergmann, Miguel Batista, Tyler Walker and rookie left-hander Jesse English (who figures to make the club). One of those relievers will have to be taken off the roster before Hernandez is added.

Riggleman did reveal the five players who will comprise his bench: catcher Wil Nieves, infielders Cristian Guzman and Alberto Gonzalez, first baseman/outfielder Mike Morse and outfielder Willy Taveras. Neither Eric Bruntlett nor Roger Bernadina made the club. Bernadina was optioned to Syracuse. Bruntlett was re-assigned to minor-league camp, along with reliever Mike MacDougal.

Thus, the Opening Day 25-man roster will be...

John Lannan
Jason Marquis
Craig Stammen
Garrett Mock

Matt Capps
Brian Bruney
Sean Burnett
Tyler Clippard
Jason Bergmann
Miguel Batista
Tyler Walker
Jesse English

Ivan Rodriguez
Wil Nieves

Adam Dunn
Adam Kennedy
Ian Desmond
Ryan Zimmerman
Cristian Guzman
Alberto Gonzalez

Josh Willingham
Nyjer Morgan
Willie Harris
Willy Taveras
Mike Morse


Anonymous said...

an 8 man bullpen. Not exactly a vote of confidence in the rotation...

Mac said...

Booooo! Bernadina is ready! He needs to be the starting right fielder. The Willies are not right fielders, Bernadina is the closest we have to it.

Lets face it, this is not our year to win. This is our year to improve. How are we going to improve with a platoon of a bench player and an aged vet.

Anonymous said...

Figures that one or two of the relevers will implode prior to the Livo start.I think that Brunlett was a tough choice and I expect him up here as soon as the ID and Ag or MM experiment fails.Also, I see a pick up somewheree amidst the players to be cut Sunday. The mystery is who will be removed from the 40 man ?

peric said...

Sending Bernadina down to start in CF in Syracuse makes some sense. He is coming back from an entire year off due to injury. They need to see what happens when he gets to play everyday. That wouldn't happen on this year's roster apparently ... not without some more evidence that he can handle it. It was either Tavares/Daniel in center in SYR or Bernadina/Daniel.

Looks like they are favoring defense ... although I'm not sure how well Harris will do but have to hope and assume his UZR will be decent. Tavares is 8.3 in center. Morse is completely unknown. Let's hope Morse can be given the chance he can man the position because he is a far better hitter than Corey Hart and probably just as good a fielder who could improve.

peric said...

I think what Olsen should really shoot for is 2nd starter down in FLA extended ST or Syracuse. I suspect he could knock out Marquis if he pitches the way he did on Friday:

From ESPN Rumors:

The Nationals are expected to choose a fifth starter some time today, but neither Scott Olsen or Garrett Mock feels sanguine about being that man.

"'I've been waiting a couple days,' Olsen said in the Washington Post. 'Twenty-four hours ain't going to kill me.' Olsen should make peace now with the ambiguity, because job security is not one of the perks of the position he is trying to land. By Saturday afternoon, the Nationals will have chosen either Garrett Mock or Olsen as their fifth starter. In finalizing their roster for Monday's opening day, it is one of their biggest decisions. In shaping their team for this season, it is likely to soon become moot."

In a dream world, the Nats would watch Stephen Strasburg throw a few dynamite starts in AA, then promote him to the big club to nail down that fifth spot.

Sunderland said...

We might not see Bruntlett all year because there's no room on the roster for him.

We're adding Batista and Taveras, we need to make room for both of them. Flores to the 60 day DL seems like the one obvious move. Not sure what the other move will be.

Then next week we'll need to make another move to bring Livo on board.

After that, finding a way to add Bruntlett will be tough.
Especially if Zimmermann and Flores return in August.

Bruntlett, I would suggest, is to a large degree a casualty of claiming Coste off waivers.

Anonymous said...

Don't Juan Jaime and Ryan Mattheus go to the 60 day DL? Then at least one of Flores, Detweiler, or Wong follow?

Won't Bruntlett be released? If not, is anyone really going to pick him up?

Anonymous said...

Again another Rizzo decision. These signs do not portend well for Willingham or Dunn.

Anonymous said...

I dislike that the bench is so righty heavy.

Would have made more sense to have made Bernadina the everyday rightfielder and keep a bench of Nieves c-r, Harris util.-l, Morse 1b/of-r, Guzman inf.-s, Taveras of-r

Anonymous said...

I was rooting for Olson, but we'll just have to see how Mock plays out. I wish him the best. JTinSC

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