Garrett Mock's likely rotation spot and morning links
Yesterday afternoon, Manager Jim Riggleman said the competition had not reached a point where he felt comfortable choosing his five starting pitchers. He had an interesting way of answering that question in regard to Garrett Mock.
"We're pretty confident up to this point the way Lannan and Marquis and Mock, the way they've come in throwing," Riggleman said. "We kind of feel like they're doing what they need to be doing to nail down a spot. Mock is still competing for that spot, but he continues to make a nice progression."
By tossing Mock in with Lannan and Marquis, Riggleman seemed to imply that one of the available spots in the rotation is Mock's to lose. Last night, Mock mostly backed that up. He allowed two runs in the first inning, including the home run Martin Prado tomahawked over the left field fence when Mock left a 1-0 fastball up in the first inning.
After a rocky start, Mock pitched as well as he has this spring. He retired nine consecutive batters against an Atlanta lineup packed with regulars. Again, he did not walk anybody, keeping his spring total at zero. Mock made aggression a main focus this year, and he's sticking to his plan.
"I wasn't going to let a walk beat me," Mock said. "I'm throwing strikes. I'm attacking guys. There are still too many counts ... where I'm forced to throw a pitch that's not my pitch."
Self-criticism was a main theme of Mock's postgame comments. Asked about Riggleman's endorsement, Mock basically ignored it.
"I don't think, if you were look back at my numbers today, that I did anything to prove anything," Mock said. "I'm not going to be complacent about anything that happened. Whatever decision that is going to be made is completely out of my control. They'll let me know when the time is right. Until then, I'm not going to think about that or feel good about a mediocre outing."
The Nationals made more cuts yesterday with their pitchers, and soon they'll have to start making decisions about position players like Chris Duncan . Once they do, the bench will take shape. With the Nationals halfway through camp, some questions have emerged. Within this Nationals preview, Stan Kasten says, "We need attention." I'll let you figure out the context. Sheinin drops some required reading on Jim Riggleman's handling of Kerry Wood, who says without equivocation Riggleman "didn't do anything wrong."
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