John Lannan to miss next start
Nationals No. 1 starting pitcher John Lannan will miss his next start because of discomfort in his left elbow.
Lannan said in the dugout before Washington's game against visiting Atlanta tonight that he began feeling pain during his fourth start of the season April 21 against Colorado. Lannan worked six innings in that game, giving up four runs and 11 hits. He also threw a season-high 107 pitches.
Lannan has struggled mightily this season, including walking three straight batters against the Chicago Cubs on April 26 and hitting the No. 8 batter during the third inning of his most recent outing against Florida on Sunday.
"Last two starts, it's been there, you know, and I battled through it," Lannan said of the pain. "Last start [against the Marlins], I just knew something was wrong. I didn't have the normal stuff. I didn't have the [movement] that I usually have to get ground balls, and I said something, so now we're taking the next step."
Lannan is 1-2 with a 6.34 ERA this season. In 32 2/3 innings, he has allowed 45 hits and walked 18.
"I think he can throw his fastball anytime he wants it, but I think his other pitches, he just feels a little something in there that he doesn't release the ball with the same confidence that he does his fastball," Riggleman said during his pregame media session. "He's just not sharp."
GM Mike Rizzo said the discomfort Lannan was feeling in his elbow prompted an MRI. The MRI revealed no structural damage, and Lannan continued his regular cycle in the rotation despite swelling in the joint.
When the discomfort continued, Lannan received a Cortisone shot in the back of the elbow, but the 25-year-old left-hander's condition did not improve.
It's unclear at this point who will take Lannan's place. The Nationals, according to Rizzo, could use a reliever or promote a player from Class AAA Syracuse. The most likely fill-in from the bullpen would be Miguel Batista.
Collin Balester started for Syracuse on Sunday, and although his next outing would coincide with what would have been Lannan's next start, it's highly improbable the Nationals would go that route.
Another possibility from Syracuse would be J.D. Martin, who started on Saturday. Martin has a 3.97 ERA and has given up 23 hits and six walks in 22 2/3 innings and was among the final cuts from the big league roster during spring training.
"Of course it's frustrating," Lannan said. "I've never really been injured before to where it's bothered me throwing pitches. It's really frustrating, but the goal is just to get better. Hopefully this program works out, and I'll be back, skip this next start, and be back next start."
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