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More on Mike MacDougal, plus lineups

The Nationals signed Mike MacDougal not to shakeup their opening day bullpen, but rather to re-acquire a struggling pitcher whom they believe they can resuscitate. While "something extraordinary would have to happen for him to break camp with the club," General Manager Mike Rizzo said, the Nationals think MacDougal still has something left.

Rizzo watched MacDougal struggle with the Florida Marlins this spring and saw the same problems MacDougal corrected last year once he arrived with the Nationals. Mainly, MacDougal has been varying his pitches too much and not relying on his sinking fastball. Last year, pitching coach Steve McCatty forced MacDougal to throw a steady diet of fastballs, and for a while, it worked.

In his first 23 games with the Nationals, MacDougal complied a 2.28 ERA while allowing opponents to hit 1.95. (In his last 12 2/3 innings, though, MacDougal had an 8.53 ERA.)

"Once we get him back with McCatty, who's the guy that straightened him out to begin with, I think we'll be able to salvage a very serviceable guy for us," Rizzo said. "The stuff is there. The velocity is there. We're going to see if we can straighten him out fairly quickly."

MacDougal will be sent to the minor leagues if he does not make the team, but he does have an out clause in his contract. At an unspecified date -Rizzo declined to elaborate other than to say it's longer than three weeks away - MacDougal can opt out of his deal.

Other tidbits from Rizzo:

*Rizzo is still weighing the idea of starting Stephen Strasburg on April 3 in the exhibition "I have given it thought," Rizzo said. "We haven't made a decision yet. But I have given more thought."

*Ian Desmond is starting tonight while Cristian Guzman mans short, an indication of how much the Nationals want to get Desmond at-bats and test Guzman's balky shoulder. In discussing Ian Desmond's spring, Rizzo alluded to Desmond's rash of errors and hit on an essential part of the shortstop competition - there is no ideal solution.

"He's close to being ready," Rizzo said. "He still, as we've seen, has some consistency problems. But we don't have a perfect player."

And the lineups:

1. Roger Bernadia, LF
2. Cristian Guzman, SS
3. Willie Harris, 3B
4. Josh Whitesell, 1B
5. Justin Maxwell, CF
6. Adam Kennedy, 2B
7. Ian Desmond, DH
8. Wil Nieves, C
9. Willy Taveras, RF
- Livan Hernandez, SP

1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Nick Johnson, DH
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Robinson Cano, 2B
6. Jorge Posada, C
7. Curtis Granderson, CF
8. Nick Swisher, RF
9. Brett Gardner, LF
- Javier Vazquez, SP

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 24, 2010; 7:16 PM ET
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No comments have been posted to this entry.

What is there left to say?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | March 25, 2010 1:03 AM | Report abuse

How about the fact that Randy St. Claire is the Marlins pitching coach and what Rizzo states, speaks volumes. BTW I always respected the Saint for dealing with the staff he had here esp. in 2006.

Posted by: smirkman | March 25, 2010 7:11 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

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