Manager Davey Johnson has mapped out the Nationals’ full spring rotation, giving Stephen Strasburg his first start of the spring March 4 against the Astros and having Gio Gonzalez make his Nationals spring debut March 6.
Given the plans Johnson revealed yesterday, the Nationals will use a spring rotation of Edwin Jackson, Strasburg, John Lannan, Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann, with Chien-Ming Wang throwing a simulated game March 5. Also, 2011 third-round draft pick Matt Purke will start the Nationals’ exhibition against Georgetown.
The fifth spot in the rotation figures to come down to Wang and Lannan. Wang seemingly has an edge because Lannan has a minor league option remaining and Wang does not. But “that’s not going to be the deciding factor on who’s going to be in the rotation,” Johnson said. “It’s going to be interesting. We’ve got a lot of good choices, more than we’ve had in the past.”
The Nationals are taking precautions with Wang’s throwing schedule, having him rest two days between bullpen sessions rather the customary one. Before he retuned last July, Wang had missed more than two years after undergoing shoulder surgery. Despite Wang’s decreased workload, Johnson said Wang has been sharp so far in camp.
“I’m counting on him in the rotation,” Johnson said. “His delivery and everything looks looser, freer. He’s everything like I remember him [with the Yankees]. He looks stronger and better.”