Garrett Mock plans to attack
Garrett Mock, one of the multitude of candidates to fill an Opening Day rotation spot for the Nationals, will make his first appearance Thursday in a split-squad game. Mock finished last season in the rotation, and his place this season, he believes, will be determined on his efficiency and his aggression.
"It's a decision that I make," Mock said. "There are going to be situations that come up this season, tighter situations with runners on or whatever. I have to make the decision to attack guys. That's where the battle is."
As Mock moved up and down between Washington and Class AAA Syracuse last year, pitching coach Steve McCatty emphasized throwing strikes. Last season, Mock threw 17.8 pitches per inning, ninth most last season among pitchers who threw at least 90 innings. He threw more than six innings just once in his 15 starts.
In those starts, Mock accumulated a 1.71 WHIP and a 5.40 ERA. Manager Jim Riggleman, though, finished the season believing Mock could be an effective major league starter. Watching hitters react with Mock on the mound, Riggleman felt they seemed uncomfortable. Opposing managers, speaking to him around the batting cage the day after Mock's starts, confirmed that.
"He's a challenge for major league hitters," Riggleman said.
Mock is trying to avoid contemplating the race for the final rotation spots. "I'm not going to put myself in competition with a teammate," Mock said. But he knows what will give him a chance to land as a starter by the end of spring.
"All that is contingent on if I'm going to go out and attack guys," Mock said. "If I'm going to go out and go 2-2, 3-2 on everybody, go from 0-2 and 3-2 on everybody, well, they don't want that. It's all based on if I go out and attack hitters. Then I can go out and contend, help the team. I agree with that completely."
One quick note: Drew Storen, closer of the future, will make his debut early, tomorrow in Kissimmee. He'll get to face Astros Jason Castro, who caught Storen when they both played at Stanford.
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