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Matt Chico will start Saturday

The Nationals will call up Matt Chico from Class AA Harrisburg to replace John Lannan in their rotation Saturday, completing Chico's long road back to the major leagues after undergoing ligament replacement surgery.

This spring, Chico hoped to compete for a spot in the Nationals' rotation. But the Nationals optioned him not to Class AAA Syracuse, but all the way to Class AA Harrisburg. In five starts, Chico convinced the Nationals he deserved the chance to fill in for Lannan, shelved for at least one start with swelling in his left elbow. Chico went 1-2 with a 3.12 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP.

Chico, a staple in the Nationals' rotation in 2007 at age 24, began the 2008 season as the team's No. 2 starter. He went 0-6 in 11 starts, at which it became clear he needed Tommy John surgery to repair his right elbow. Chico missed the rest of the 2008 season and made it back last season only in time to make 15 minor league starts.

The Nationals did not announce Chico's promotion, but he is listed as the probable starter for tomorrow in the Marlins' game notes. The Nationals are likely to send down an outfielder. Willy Taveras, who hasn't started since April 26 and has a .386 OPS, seems a likely candidate.

Lannan and the Nationals expect him to return Thursday and start against the Colorado Rockies. Lannan said he has regained full range of motion in his left elbow and he will throw tomorrow for the first time since Sunday, his last start. As long as all goes well, Lannan will approach the rest of the week as he typically would, going for a long-distance run and lifting weights Sunday.

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 7, 2010; 6:38 PM ET
Categories:  John Lannan , Matt Chico , Pitching rotation  
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So, because Chico, who's 1-2 with a 3.12 ERA after five starts, has Major League experience, he gets the call over Strasburg, who is 3-1 with a 1.64 ERA in the same number of starts gets a pat on the head and a promotion to AAA?

Hey, Rizzo, would you like to try telling everyone it's not about money again.

Posted by: KenzAFan | May 7, 2010 7:51 PM | Report abuse

KenzAFan, does Strasburg have 200 innings pitches in the majors like Chico? how many does he have? oh wait, 0! bringing up Chico makes perfect sense. he has the most experience of any starter at AA or AAA in our system. be patient. strasburg is the future. there is ZERO need to rush him right now.

Posted by: destewar | May 7, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

I hate to point out the obvious here, but Strasburg just pitched tonight in Syracuse. I know he's the second coming and all but isn't it a little much to ask him to start consecutive nights?

Posted by: Naugatuck-Nats | May 7, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Of course it's about the money. But that's another way of saying that if you blow the kid out by bringing him in too early, you will have cost yourself a pile of money.

destewar is right. There's ZERO rush.

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | May 7, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

All spring the naysayers exressed how horrible the Nats were over and over again. Now the new tact is Riggleman's an idiot for not bringing up Strasburg before June(it's only about money right?)and this a$$clown wants him to start on consecutive nights, and Riggleman is the character impugned here. What? The Nats are doing exaclty what they should be doing,bringing along their young pitching in the minors to properly prepare them for the bigs. This isn't rocket science here, let them season,get used to the schedule, and how about this don't BLOW up their arms ala Kerry Wood and a thousand other can't miss prospects. The S& S boys will be here in June,and guess what Mr.Riggleman is an a-hiole, the Nats will still be over 500. All spring it was pitching and RT field, all season it's been winning and pitching, and lo and behold there is no black hole in Right. I'm a fan,I believe, I am not a CRITIC,with nothing better to do with my time than critisize. Get a life, finally we are sticking to the plan,building our young players and soon teams will be chasing us. Not only in the standings but after our propects on the mound of which we will have too many,SWEET. Go Chico, you have put in your dues and have earned and deserve this spot start,before long you may be permanent and if not it won't be because you have no talent,just not quite enough, prove them wrong and kick some a$$. To destawar,stupidhighway,& Naugutuck.Nats, you understand, you get it and WE know,these kids are for real,we are building right and I guarentee you we will continue to surprise the entire season. Don't let a playoff spot seem impossible,it is not, may not get there but we will compete.

Posted by: mfowler1 | May 8, 2010 12:46 AM | Report abuse

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