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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."

By Gene Wang  |  May 4, 2010; 5:00 PM ET
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Next: Mike Rizzo on Stephen Strasburg's promotion


Please, do not bring up Balester!

How about Matt Chico? He pitched last night and his next scheduled start would be Saturday ...

JD Martin is also another possibility, though it would be a week in between starts for him ...

But if it has to be between Balester and Batista, I can't believe I'm going to say this but ... I'd prefer Batista. Bring up another reliever (Jesse English?) and sit Lannan down for a couple of weeks.

Posted by: erocks33 | May 4, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

dunh dunh DUNH!

I was afraid of this.

Posted by: Section506 | May 4, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Paging Dr. Andrews. Dr. Andrews, Line 1 please.

Posted by: Section406 | May 4, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Really had to exert an extra effort to tamp down the "bring up Strasburg" urge...

Posted by: Juan-John1 | May 4, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Really had to exert an extra effort to tamp down the "bring up Strasburg" urge...

Posted by: Juan-John1 | May 4, 2010 5:27 PM


You and half of the Nats' front office.

Posted by: js_edit | May 4, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

On the positive side, the Nats are currently over .500 with both the #1 and #2 starters being cataclysmically bad. So, does anyone know Detwiller's time-table?

Posted by: FriendofalltheWorld | May 4, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: nattydread1 | May 4, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

This is not good. You can tell something is just not right. He was never a power pitcher, but he just seems to be throwing batting practice recently.

Posted by: Tom8 | May 4, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Why am I reading this news with a happy state of mind? Simply because if there is a physical ailment then there is a causal link to Lannan's troubles. Sadly, the pitchers here have to go out and bomb in several games in a row before the conditions are deemed worthy for a plan B. I would much rather have a 100 percent pitcher on the mound than a 90% Lannan. At least we have the chance to see a pitcher go 7 innings. Now, can we do a full body MRI on Bruney? There has to be something not right so we can send him to rehab.

Posted by: driley | May 4, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Crud. Feel better, John.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 4, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Why resist the urge??

Posted by: Section222 | May 4, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Not to worry. Daniel Cabrera's available.

Posted by: baltova1 | May 4, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse


The full body on Bruney isn't necessary - stop at his neck.

Posted by: BinM | May 4, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

I think it's not the team not checking these guys out, it's the guys trying to be tough and "gut it out" which leads to these extended injuries because they aren't telling the team doc and they do some actual damage by waiting to get treatment.

I like the tough guy attitude, as long as it doesn't involve injury. But oddly glad to hear this, as I'd much rather his troubles be soreness or injury than lack of prowess.

Take time to get healthy John, we are gonna need ya on the roster not the DL.

Posted by: Rogueone | May 5, 2010 7:12 AM | Report abuse

They CAN'T bring Strasburg up yet or they lose a year under his contract. They HAVE to wait just a few more weeks for that.

I'm not so down on Balester, particularly when a call-up would give him that little extra rush of adrenalin in his first start that made him good those few times he was good in the past.

And I have always liked Shairon Martis, although the umps HATE him and give him a strike zone that can't even be seen with a scanning tunneling microscope. Judging by his ERA in Syracuse, scientists at CERN are STILL seeking that elusive Martis Strike Zone particle, believed now to occupy negative space.

Of course, we could try something new. Syracuse has this righthanded starter, Andrew Kown, who has a 1.77 ERA this year. Aaron Thompson is not doing too badly at Harrisburg, with a 2.82 ERA.

Or we could try something old. Livo's like Wild Bill Hutchinson (look him up) -- I think he could pitch every day and never get tired.

Posted by: FergusonFoont | May 5, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Well after watching Batista last night in relief I say H*#^ no, couldn't hit the strike zone, wild pitches etc., now you drafted nothing but pitchers over the last several years and yet we can't find a quality one in the bunch? As for Lannan he's never showed me he was deserving of being the #1 guy...

Posted by: papaskynz | May 5, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Well, I for one smiled when I heard he would be sitting out his next start.

He really has been scary dreadful all year.

Posted by: summerandwinter | May 5, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

On the positive side, the Nats are currently over .500 with both the #1 and #2 starters being cataclysmically bad. So, does anyone know Detwiller's time-table?

Posted by: FriendofalltheWorld | May 4, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse


As far as I know, Detwiler has not yet been designated for assignment. Once he recovers, he will probably start AA and work his way back up. My best guess is Detwiler gets called up in September at the earliest.

We ought to look forward to Zimmerman, Detwiler, and Wang facing AA hitters. If they do that by July, we'll probably see them in September.

Posted by: jboogie1 | May 5, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I'm thinking Mock or Martin will be called back up to bridge the gap until June. By then, if everything goes according to the rehab schedules, then Marquis should be back, Lannan will probably be back unless this is more serious than expected, and Strasburg will have arrived. This is honestly a testament to how well the front office has built the pitching staff. And this doesn't even take into consideration other guys like Martis and Aaron Thompson. Should be an interesting month of May to see how all this shakes out. Wang and Detwiler are "bonus" if they also become available before the all-star break.

Posted by: AsstGM | May 5, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

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