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Which National will make room for Livan Hernandez?

Sometime this afternoon, Livan Hernandez will fly from Florida to New York, his arrival and subsequent start tomorrow signaling the end, for now, of some National's major league tenure. Almost certainly, that National will be one of their eight relievers.

Which player to send down will be decided by "probably recent performance as much as anything," Manager Jim Riggleman said. Riggleman will meet with pitching coach Steve McCatty and General Manager Mike Rizzo today and give their decision after the game.

The Nationals are considering two or three options. The four pitchers ingrained in the bullpen are Matt Capps, Brian Bruney, Sean Burnett and Tyler Clippard, meaning the odd man out will probably be Miguel Batista, Jesse English, Tyler Walker or Jason Bergmann. Only Bergmann is out of options, meaning he would have to clear waivers in order for the Nationals to keep him in their organization.

It would come as a surprise, but the Nationals could feasibly go in another direction. They could choose to keep eight relievers by sending Garrett Mock, who struggled last night, to Class AAA Syracuse. They would not need a fifth starter until next Sunday, at which point the Nationals would have to call up one of the many Syracuse pitchers who has started in the majors before, most likely Scott Olsen.

While it's a possibility, it seems unlikely the Nationals would do that to Mock. Rizzo stated when the Nats chose Mock as their final starter that they needed to find out if Mock could take his major league stuff and become a major league pitcher. While it didn't happen this spring and certainly didn't happen last night, the Nationals probably owe to themselves and to Mock to give him more time.

How much, though, is up for discussion.

"That's a tough question," Riggleman said. "He didn't have a good spring. You don't want to make too many rash judgments on his first outing of the year. But you back into where Garrett just didn't throw the ball like he's capable of through the spring. There's certainly some concern. What we do about it, I'm not sure.

"I know Garrett has just got to get groundballs. He's not going to overpower hitters with velocity. He's got a pretty good breaking ball, and he's got a good sinker. It's just happening. He's just not getting groundballs."

* * *
Mike Morse said his right calf is getting "close" to 100 percent, but he still won't be in the starting lineup for a few days, Riggleman said. Morse can pinch hit, but if he reached base he would require a pinch runner. The Nationals have not reached the point where they've even considered putting Morse on the disabled list.

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 10, 2010; 12:32 PM ET
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Next: Game 5 discussion thread: Nationals at Mets


So Morse's gonna go on the 60 day DL sometime next month.... This day to day thing is for the birds...

Posted by: swang30 | April 10, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

They'll send English down, despite the fact that Bergmann should be taken behind the shed.

Posted by: CapitolWill | April 10, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Who goes down for Livan?

- Probably won't be a reliever, until the starting staff proves they can go 5-6IP without getting bludgeoned.
- Mock is a possible, but the FO wants a full look at him before making the call (like Viera & yesterday wasn't enough).
- Most likely, it will be a bench player; Taveras, Morse, or AGonz, with today's results being in-play.

Posted by: BinM | April 10, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

The Nats have a major league roster?

Posted by: EdDC | April 10, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Put Morse on the 15 day DL retroactive. Start Mock One more time: if he and Bergmann suck still you have your answer. Cut both loose and take Morse of the DL and bring up Olsen.


Then Wang for Batista
Jesus for Livo


Posted by: hansenjo | April 10, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

You won't see Wang until next year give his progress. Right now Jordan Zimmermann appears to be far ahead. Do you really prefer a guy who had the record Wang has had for the last 2 years? Or Zimmermann. Given the glowing accolades Rizzo had for Zimmermann on his MASN blog: ITS definitely Zimmermann NOT Wang. YOU NEVER hear them mention Wang unless one of the Chinese press types ask about him.

Bottom line: everyone stop with "the Wang" his appearance is likely not going to happen not with him still experiencing soreness playing catch. Put him in the same bin with Flores as their injuries are similar.

But yeah Zimmermann with some decent outings in Harrisburg could be brought up in August. Thompson, Chico, Olsen, Martin, and Atilano plus Milone is looking pretty darned good. Detwiler might get his act together seeing all the competition he now has once he recovers from the hip surgery. Brad Meyers is also on the DL recovering from foot surgery he also looked pretty good last year.

What are these guys probably trying to prove to get brought up? That they can throw strikes. Limit walks. Pitch efficiently keeping the pitch count down. Limiting hits to singles. Leading to quality starts over six or more innings.

Which is why Livo gets to be a starter. He gets quality starts with almost no velocity on his pitches. As soon as that stops he won't be there.

Its up to that bevy of young pitchers in the minors to prove they can make quality starts.

Posted by: periculum | April 11, 2010 1:39 AM | Report abuse

Strasburg and Storen are givens ... although I would like to see Storen start some games. He has four to five major league ready pitches. They need a guy with the personality of a "stopper" who has the velocity and "stuff" to make quality starts. In other words a Mock with the right "makeup". That would probably be Storen.

Posted by: periculum | April 11, 2010 1:42 AM | Report abuse

I could name five or six pitchers I'd like to see gone, but then, couldn't we all.

Posted by: Pete433 | April 11, 2010 7:46 AM | Report abuse

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