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Posted at 9:01 AM ET, 02/16/2011

Right-hander Luis Atilano removed from 40-man roster

By Adam Kilgore

In order to reduce their roster to the 40-man limit, the Nationals designated right-handed starter Luis Atilano for assignment. The Nationals will have 10 days to either trade him, release him or send him to the minor leagues.

Atilano, 25, started 16 games last year, fourth most on the Nationals, after joining the team midseason. He went 6-7 with a 5.15 ERA and underwent surgery in July to remove bone chips in his elbow, after which he did not make another major league start. At one point, Atilano improbably beat Tim Lincecum and Roy Oswalt in consecutive starts to improve his record to 5-1.

The Nationals needed to remove a player from their 40-man roster in order to officially make room for first baseman Adam LaRoche, whose contract was officially approved and processed by MLB.

By Adam Kilgore  | February 16, 2011; 9:01 AM ET
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Hope he stays with the NATS. I believe he still has upside.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: adhardwick | February 16, 2011 9:28 AM | Report abuse

The 2011 starting rotation vs. the 2010 starting rotation: improved or not?

(Edited from Jan. 21 and reposted)

As I recall (and anyone who wants to help me is welcome to), we came out of Spring Training last year with a rotation of:
Lannan, Marquis, Mock, Hernandez, and Stammen.

Mock started just once before his neck injury brought Olsen into the rotation.
Marquis developed bone chips in his elbow; he was replaced by Atilano. Olsen's injury caused J. D. Martin's to become a starter. When Lannan was given a rest due to an arm problem, Matt Chico got a spot start.

Strasburg's debut pushed Stammen out of the rotation. Lannan's earlier arm problem resulted in a AA assignment; this brought Stammen back into the rotation. A spot start by Batista and Lannan's return filled in for Strasburg during his layoff. Atilano developed bone chips in his elbow and was replaced by Detwiler in the rotation; Strasburg's return pushed Detwiler out of the rotation.

J. D. Martin's injury coincided with Olsen's return to the rotation. Marquis' return pushed Stammen out of the rotation. Zimmermann replaced Strasburg in the rotation after his elbow blowout. Olsen was pushed out of the rotation by Maya. During September, the rotation was Hernandez, Lannan, Marquis, Zimmermann, and Maya. Detwiler got two more starts at the end of the season.

OK. Got all that? By my count, seven starters had injuries at some point last year: Mock, Marquis, Olsen, Lannan, Atilano, Martin, and Strasburg.

This year, we start with (provisionally) a
rotation of Zimmermann, Lannan, Marquis, Gorzelanny, and Hernandez. Competing for spots on this rotation are Maya and Detwiler (at least).

I don't know about you, but this looks to me like a modest improvement over the situation at the beginning of last season. I've got to believe that there will be fewer injuries to the rotation this year than last. I mean, if the Phillies had seven starters felled by injury during 2010, they wouldn't have been so good either, right?

Posted by: bertbkatz | February 16, 2011 9:58 AM | Report abuse

I agree it is a modest improvement in talent. Also, I would think the odds are good that overall staff health should be better. Plus the fielding should be better which should help the overall performance of the groundball pitchers. But the staff does not seem likely to be significantly better. Regression to mean should significantly help Marquis and Lannan but could hurt Hernandez. Improved health and continues development could be significant for Zimmerman and park effect could be helpful to Gorzelany.

Posted by: whatsaNATaU | February 16, 2011 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Atilano DFA'd? Good..., no harm and certainly no foul!

BTW, Jason Werth will earn 18M in 2011, while Albert Puholz will earn 16M in 2011. Now if only JW can be as productive as Sir Albert!

Anyone think that Uncle Ted couldn't dish out 300M for Albert? I think he can , its just that he won't!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | February 16, 2011 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Have the Nationals improved?

Yes. Atilano, JD Martin and Stammen are no longer candidates for the starting rotation and disappointing prospects like Maxwell have been shipped out.

Slowly but surely these marginal players are being replaced by ones that are legitimate major leaguers.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | February 16, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I agree with adhardwick and hope that Luis is able to stay with the Nats in some capacity. I was impressed by his grit and determination as he came out of nowhere last season.

Posted by: dontknowdiddley | February 17, 2011 12:07 PM | Report abuse

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