Preparing for Stephen Strasburg's second start
Just a couple pre-game notes while wondering what would bring more joy to Nationals fans than Stephen Strasburg striking out Felipe Lopez today:
*The Nationals want to pin the fourth and fifth starters by about March 24. That way, those pitchers can make a couple starts after and get stretched out enough to be a starter. The take a little longer with the fifth starter, though, because off-days will allow the Nationals to not use a fifth starter until April 11.
The off-days actually create an interesting scenario. The Nationals are off the day after Opening Day and then one week later as well. Manager Jim Riggleman can envision using 11 pitchers to start the season, shuffling one pitcher from the minors to the majors if need be.
"It's a great option to have in you have some people who have options that you can move back and forth," Riggleman said. "You always have a 12-man staff, but only 11 guys would be taking up roster spots. You could play with that a lot." Craig Stammen would seem to be one potential candidate for being shuffled between the majors and minors.
*Nyjer Morgan is 3 for 18 with one walk and one double, a rough way to start the spring. "Nyjer is a little bit in-between," Riggleman said. "He's really working hard" with hitting coach Rick Eckstein. "You see it some days," Riggleman said. "And some days, it's not there. That's almost a good thing. We don't want Njyer to peak here. Nyjer's one of those guys, sometimes it's not as much about quality of a swing as it is about the level of competitiveness that he has. Sometimes, Nyjer is going to get in there and say, 'I'm going to get you, one way or another.' "
*Strasburg's second start is not going to be televised, but you can listen to the Cardinals' radio feed here.
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