Both John Lannan and Ross Detwiler will pitch today against the Astros, with Lannan starting and Detwiler coming out of the bullpen. With Chien-Ming Wang out with a strained hamstring, that won’t change once the season begins.
Manager Davey Johnson clarified the Nationals’ fifth starter competition, saying, effectively, that there is no competition. Lannan will start, and Detwiler will start the year in the bullpen.
“John’s my guy,” Johnson said.
When Wang returns, that will give the Nationals another decision to make. The Nationals consider Wang ahead of schedule in his recovery from the hamstring he strained March 15 while covering first base. Wang has been playing light catch taking laps around the warning track, either briskly walking or slowly jogging.
“I’m amazed he’s doing what he’s doing already,” Johnson said.
Johnson expects to Wang start the year on the disabled list and miss between four and six weeks, putting him on schedule to return by mid-to-late April. The Nationals will use caution, because re-injuring a hamstring strain can lead to severe complications.
For today, here’s the Nationals’ lineup against Houston. They’re using the same four batters at the top of the order as yesterday.
1. Ian Desmond, SS
2. Danny Espinosa, 2B
3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
4. Jayson Werth, RF
5. Chad Tracy, 1B
6. Wilson Ramos, C
7. Roger Bernadina, CF
8. Jason Michaels, LF
9. John Lannan, SP