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For John Lannan, Ivan Rodriugez is tough to shake

In the first inning Friday, John Lannan made a departure from his previously sterling spring. He allowed three runs on four hits and two walks, consistently falling behind batters, something he rarely does.

"I wasn't really pitching like myself," Lannan said.

He relies on establishing his fastball early in at-bats and throwing the pitch to both corners of the plate. Friday, though, he started most at-bats with an off-speed pitch, like a slider. When a Hall of Famer is calling pitches behind the plate, it is difficult to argue.

"I just went with what Pudge said," Lannan said. "I'm going to have to throw first-pitch sliders. I didn't disagree with it. But it really didn't work for me in the first inning."

Nationals pitchers have so far raved about working with Rodriguez, citing examples of when he challenged them to throw different pitches. They also spoke about the reverence they have for him, which can be a double-edged sword. They feel conviction that whatever pitch he calls for is the right pitch. They also may be too willing to stray from their typical strategy.

"I try to stay with my gameplan no matter who's behind the plate," Lannan said. "It's a little harder to shake him off. I got to realize that I'm throwing the baseball and the results are on me. Whatever pitch I feel is the pitch, I've just got to shake to."

McCatty said this week that Rodriguez's effect on the pitching staff will sink in most once he learns the pitchers. As Friday showed, that's an ongoing process.

After the rough first inning, Lannan chatted with pitching coach Steve McCatty and adjusted. He allowed one more run in his 5 2/3 innings. For him, the best part of the day was his pitch count. He threw 96 pitches, the most of any Nationals pitcher spring, and never felt fatigued on the mound.

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 26, 2010; 4:58 PM ET
Categories:  Ivan Rodriguez , John Lannan  
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Next: Nationals shortstop decision could be coming 'pretty soon'


Email announcing an Eagles concert at Nationals Park.

I hate the effing Eagles....

Posted by: fischy | March 26, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Eagles coming to the park. No "peaceful, easy feeling for Lannan.

Posted by: tommy11599 | March 26, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Don't the starting pitcher & catcher usually discuss strategy before the game, or has Pudge's reputation skewed the approach of pitchers?

Posted by: BinM | March 26, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Even tho' Pudge is someone who has caught pitchers for eleven hundred years, it doesn't mean that he could ALWAYS correctly read and understand the Nats staff at this point in Spring Training.
If I was Lannan, I would DARE to tell the future HOF that I would rather pitch the game on opening day that has made me great on a piss poor team for the last two years, instead of Pudge's retread rah-rah..
Then, once June rolls around, then the two can then decide who knows best.
In short: Pudge ain't Jesus! (of Bethlehem, not Flores).
Let Lannan be Lannan!!!!!

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | March 26, 2010 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Eagles is ok. Iggles, not so much.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | March 26, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Hey, after the first inning of a *spring training* game, live and learn. I'm down with teh Pudge.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | March 26, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Actually, this is an excellent question. Don't the coaches and pitchers and catchers go over opposing lineups, or are they just going out there and ad-libbing because it's spring training?
Don't the starting pitcher & catcher usually discuss strategy before the game, or has Pudge's reputation skewed the approach of pitchers?
Posted by: BinM | March 26, 2010 7:50 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | March 26, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

You'll never read this, fischy, but I happen to like the Eagles (the band, not the team), especially Joe Walsh.

"I can't complain, but sometimes, I still do.''

Word to live by.

Posted by: nats24 | March 27, 2010 12:50 AM | Report abuse

Here we go again. Pussy footing around, worring about hurting someone else's feelings. Be a man Lannan. If you don't like a called pitch, shake the darn thing off! If you don't, how will you and the catcher ever learn each other? He can't read your mind. Talk before the game or slow the game down and call him out to the mound. Geesh, these are pros?

Posted by: Pete433 | March 27, 2010 6:07 AM | Report abuse

This needs to be understood in the context of a previous story. Rodriguez said he was trying to get them out of their zone in spring training games, to stretch them to certain pitches he thinks would work for them during the season. I don't believe he is going to try to force a whole inning of the off-speeds during the regular season, but he is trying to give a few extra options so that they are less predictable.


Posted by: kevincostello | March 27, 2010 7:20 AM | Report abuse

Note to Nats pitching staff: The ancient one is going into the HOF because of his bat and his arm, not his brain.

Look it up...Puff hasn't caught any HOF pitchers. So start thinking a few pitches ahead, have a strategy for each batter, then execute. Relying on the catcher to do your thinking is dumb. Relying on a catcher like Puff is even dumber.

Posted by: howjensen | March 27, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

"After the rough first inning, Lannan chatted with pitching coach Steve McCatty and adjusted."

... Adam, just curious. Does this quote suggest that John continued to follow Pudge's advice, or that both John and Pudge came to an agreement that John would pitch what he wanted?

Go Nats!!

Posted by: natscanreduxit | March 27, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

fischy, I believe the correct response to your statement is, "If you don't like the effing music, get your own effing stadium!"

Posted by: baltova1 | March 27, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Lannan, you better shake him off for every pitch. Pudge does not call a good game. It's the only rap on his resume.

Posted by: lp_lodestar | March 27, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

if last year's pitching was a result of pitchers shaking off catchers and throwing pitches that they wanted to throw, i would suggest they listen to someone who has been doing this, successfully, for a while. because their way sucked!!!!

Posted by: Phillip258 | March 27, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

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