Garrett Mock named fifth starter; Nationals to keep eight relievers
Manager Jim Riggleman named Garrett Mock the Nationals' fifth starter -- choosing the right-hander over lefty Scott Olsen -- and named the Nationals' bench on Saturday afternoon.
Olsen was optioned to Class AAA Syracuse along with outfielder Roger Bernadina. Infielder Eric Bruntlett and right-handed Mike MacDougal were re-assigned to minor-league camp.
The Nationals' bench will include infielder Cristian Guzman (whom Riggleman did not entirely consider a bench player because Guzman should receive consistent at-bats), catcher Wil Nieves, infielder Alberto Gonzalez, outfielder Willie Tavares and utility player Mike Morse.
The Nationals will open the season with eight relievers in the bullpen. Although Riggleman did not want to name the bullpen by name, in case anything happened in Saturday's home exhibition game against the Boston Red Sox, the eight relievers entering the game were lefties Sean Burnett and Jesse English, and right-handed relievers Miguel Batista, Jason Bergmann, Brian Bruney, Matt Capps, Tyler Clippard and Tyler Walker.
But it was the decision about the fifth starter that was the headline story of the day.
"It was a very tough decision," Riggleman said. "Particularly, yesterday, Olsen really threw the ball well. The consensus amongst of all of us -- the coaches, myself, Mike Rizzo -- was that Olsen is really getting close to where he was prior to the trade acquisition last year. He's just not quite there yet as far as 100 percent. He's really close....
"Even though Garrett Mock had a little bit of a rough spring, we're still excited what he can do for us. You never want to be so flip about it to say you can flip a coin as to which one you took. But really, it wavered day-to-day as to which guy we were going to take. Both of them have options, so we can send them to the minor leagues. Whichever one we took, we knew it could be an ever-changing thing. Not just with them, but with anybody else in the rotation, pretty much with the exception of Marquis and Lannan."
The Nationals will only activate four starters at the beginning of the season, so they can keep eight relievers. There are still moves to make (sending players to the disabled list) for the 40-man roster, but that has not yet been announced.
Stay tuned to Nationals Journal for more information.
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