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Garrett Mock loses his grip

March 15, I think, was the first time Nationals Manager Jim Riggleman mentioned Garrett Mock's name in the same vein as John Lannan and Jason Marquis. It was not the last, and each time the point was clear. Lannan and Marquis could have thrown underhand this spring and still headed north part of the Nationals' rotation. Mock, it seemed, had joined them.

In the two weeks since, Mock's hold on a rotation spot has slipped. Today, in his chance to make his final impression, Mock allowed six runs (five earned), five walks and seven hits, two of those to pitcher Chris Volstad, in 4 2/3 innings of a 9-5 loss to the Marlins. Mock also struck out three and uncorked a wild pitch.

"The outing speaks for itself," Riggleman said. "I can't say much about it. You saw it."

It also could have actually been worse. The only two outs he recorded in the fifth came when Mike Lamb ripped a line drive at Adam Dunn, who snared it and stepped on first for a double play.

On April 11, either Scott Olsen, J.D. Martin or Mock will make take the ball as the Nationals' fifth starter. At this point, they can't say which one. Craig Stammen separated himself with his breakthrough spring, something no one from that trio has.

"None of them are grabbing the job," Riggleman said. "We'd like to see it. We feel Stammen came in to camp and made a statement for himself. We're waiting for somebody to do that."

Jason Bergmann, for whom Mock left the bases loaded with two outs, could have helped Mock's line. But he allowed every inherited runner to score plus two of his own by allowing five consecutive singles. Afterward, Riggleman said Bergamann's bullpen spot remained secure.

In his 2010 Nationals debut, Mike MacDougal pitched an uneven inning. He allowed a leadoff double to Ronnie Paulino, who later scored on a wild pitch -- a wild pitch immediately made moot by a Bryan Petersen double.

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 30, 2010; 8:12 PM ET
Categories:  Garrett Mock  
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Next: Even Rick Eckstein has his limits


If Olsen pitches well his next start he gets it with Nats hoping the rest he will have until his first start will allow him to heal up completely.

Personally I like JD Martin, little talent a lot of heart. Mock must really be the air head everyone says he is, his mind may always get in the way of his talent. I think his best spot is in the pen, the pen in Syracuse for now.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | March 30, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

I could get used to unassisted double plays from Adam Dunn!

Posted by: nervousnatsfan | March 30, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

GM's corner was again pretty good this week. Particular emphasis on the Pirates who have 3 right fielder with no options. Two will be released. One of those is Ryan Church. One has to wonder if the Nats, given their right field situation, and perhaps the desire to play Bernadina every day in the minors wouldn't bring him back?

Posted by: periculum | March 30, 2010 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Periculum- As much as I'd like to have Churchie back, he's a lock to make the Pirates bench. Even check

Posted by: featurepresentation | March 31, 2010 12:30 AM | Report abuse

If Bergmann's job is secure, you know the bullpen isn't. I feel good about the starting rotation with the exception of the #2 and 5 spots. But, hopefully Zimmermann and Wang will come along and take care of that. But oh, that bullpen.

Posted by: Pete433 | March 31, 2010 6:58 AM | Report abuse

I admit that I am surprised that Bergmann's job is secure, given his struggles. I like the guy, and hope he has a great year to stay with the team. However, given that the Garrett Mock story shows what "secure" means, Bergmann needs to do well to stay on the team.

Jesse English sure has been impressive, hasn't he? Does he have a chance of making the club? Is Tyler Walker about to walk?


Posted by: kevincostello | March 31, 2010 7:10 AM | Report abuse

@ + 1/2 Street:

Riggleman is a track record guy. Bergmann pitched pretty well for him last year while all these other guys haven't really proven anything at the big league level yet. That goes a long way in most organizations and seems to be particularly true with Riggs.

As an aside, Bill James used to do these manager's boxes in his abstracts where he evaluated various aspects of each guy's style. (Maybe he still does, but I don't have time to read his stuff anymore). One of his categories was a manager's willingness to go with unproven players. It was interesting to see which guys were willing to break guys in and which almost never did. It seems Riggs is reluctant to dump veterans, although I guess Desmond/Guzman would be an exception to that.


Posted by: db423 | March 31, 2010 7:55 AM | Report abuse

100 + losses again for this pathetic staff.

Posted by: ridgely1 | March 31, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

It's tough to imagine English not making the club. Seems the roster is pretty set except for the #5 starter & #7 reliever, but it's also possible that both of those slots are the same guys, figuring that 1 of Olsen/Mock will start on April 11th and the other will be in the pen. It's also possible either will seem some time in the minors until needed in the starting rotation. If I had to guess (and this is not what I think should happen, but what will) I'd say English is the #7 reliever, Olsen gets some innings in relief and then starts on the 11th and Mock heads to AAA.

Posted by: estuartj | March 31, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Well it's not Martin, sent to minor league camp today. Olsen pitches against Red Sox Friday, but that could mean anything....

Posted by: estuartj | March 31, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

New Post

Posted by: estuartj | March 31, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

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