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Posted at 11:43 AM ET, 03/ 7/2011

Even more fifth-starter intrigue

By Dave Sheinin

Tom Gorzelanny, the veteran lefty acquired in a trade from the Chicago Cubs this winter, said he is scheduled to make his Grapefruit League debut on Thursday, a day when the Nationals have split-squad games at home against the Mets and in Kissimmee against the Astros. Right-hander Chad Gaudin is also scheduled to pitch that day, though it is unclear which pitcher will start which game.

Gorzelanny, as you'll recall, was slowed by an illness at the start of camp, leaving him about a week behind the team's other pitchers, but he has caught up now, and will likely go three innings in his first Grapefruit League appearance.

Gorzelanny, who is earning $2.1 million this season, remains the frontrunner for the fifth starter's job, but is also trying to hold off a pack of challengers, including Gaudin, Yunesky Maya and Ross Detwiler.

By Dave Sheinin  | March 7, 2011; 11:43 AM ET
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Detwiler, Maya, and Gorzelanny all power pitchers, two left handers are vying for fifth starter spots? And last year Gorzelanny pretty much out performed every Nats front starter. (He didn't start as many games or pitch as many innings as Livo.)

The Nats "front three" are three pitch-to-contact soft-tossers in Lannan, Marquis, Livan Herandez. And #4 is top power pitcher Jordan Zimmermann? And how does 'Gaudin' fit? Didn't he sign a minor league contract?

I think Detwiler, Maya, Zimmerman, and Gorzelanny will prove that this should be COMPLETELY REVERSED!

Just as Pudge might start the season as the starter at catcher NO ONE expects him to still be starting at the ALL STAR break. The same should be true for the starting pitching staff which needs to feature Zimmermann, Detwiler, Gorzelanny and Maya at the top of the rotation facing the top starters of their rivals in the NL EAST if they are to have any chance at all of finishing at or above .500 this year.

Otherwise, its another year of a tropic island mess here on Giggleman's Isle respecting, committing, and deferring to washed up veterans, respecting the game, and lots and lots of losing.

Posted by: periculum | March 7, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

This is good intrigue to have but based on what I have seen so far in Viera, Gorzo is probably last amongst the contenders for the 5th spot. I think Maya and Gaudin may have the inside track right now on the 5th spot but I would like to see a couple more starts from each say when they get up to 5 innings as Detweiler is always good the 1st time through the order but I think he makes a better bullpen candidate long term than starter.

Posted by: markfd | March 7, 2011 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Feel sorry for all those guys.

No matter how "well" they pitch they're still gonna end up with a record that is approaching 15/20 losses because the Natinals offense will be simply putrid.

Hahahaha, seriously, anyone that thinks Werth is an upgrade over Dunn is smoking too much with Cheech and Chong.

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | March 7, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

So this is why parents should assist their childrens dream to play baseball (if in fact the child wants to play)...a fifth starter for the Nats makes $2.1M. America is a great country.

Posted by: warewind | March 7, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Methinks all of these pitchers will be starting at one point or another this season to have the chanve to prove themselves. The survivors from this group of starters (Maya, Detweiler, Gaudin, Gorzy) will be known by June/July - the rest will be in AAA or BP duty. I suspect it will be both Maya and Detweiler to win the battle and will be regular starters by Aug (in time for Strasburg to see some time)... but I don't see Gorzy stinkin' it up either. I see Marquis either getting re-injured or just plain losing his stuff this year and will be assigned or cut in August; Gaudin will be in the BP.

Posted by: bsdman | March 7, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

It's early, but Maya is looking pretty hitable so far...

Posted by: estuartj | March 7, 2011 1:33 PM | Report abuse

How about we start some "intrigue" on who the opening day Center Fielder is, Roger Bernadina is making a nice case to be leading off and playing CF, not platooning wit Morse in LF...

Posted by: estuartj | March 7, 2011 1:35 PM | Report abuse

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