The Nationals have decided Tom Gorzelanny will make his first start of the season April 9, their eighth game
of the season. By that time, 15 days will have passed since Gorzelanny made his final spring training start. The trick is keeping fresh.
Gorzelanny has been available to pitch out of the bullpen the first two games of the Nationals season, and he will be available again tomorrow. If he does not appear, then he’ll throw a simulated game at some point next week. “I’ll have to bribe some guys to stand in there, maybe take a hack or two against me,” Gorzelanny said.
While the extended span without a start disrupts Gorzelanny’s typical rhythm, he is not concerned. He is approaching the time off like offseason training, working out every other day and throwing regular bullpens. He went through a similar situation last year with the Chicago Cubs.
“It’s really not that big of a deal,” Gorzelanny said. “Some people make it out to be. It’s just a couple weeks that I won’t be pitching. I still know how to pitch. I still know how to face hitters. It’s not like I’m going back to square one.”
Gorzelanny could have been used today in relief given the unique circumstances. John Lannan lasted only five innings because of a 55-minute rain delay. Lannan pitched one more inning after the delay, admitted he felt some stiffness after the break despite a 1-2-3 inning. The Nationals pulled Lannan after 68 pitches, even though he had allowed just one run on five hits, one walk and three strikeouts.
Lannan had never pitched through a rain delay before. During the break, he asked Livan Hernandez what he should. He ended up eating a banana and a protein (“I was starting,” he said) and played catch in the batting cage down the tunnel from the Nationals’ dugout. Fifteen minutes before the game resumed, Lannan played long toss in the outfield. “I was grateful to even get the chance to come back out,” he said.
Anyway, needing innings, the Nationals could have turned to Gorzelanny. Instead, Manager Jim Riggleman wanted to “get the cobwebs off” Chad Gaudin. He surrendered a home run on the very pitch he threw as a National.
In any event, here’s how the Nationals lineup for the remainder of their first three series of the season:
3, Braves: Jordan Zimmermann
5, Marlins: Jason Marquis
6, Marlins: Livan Hernandez
7, Marlins: John Lannan
8, Mets: Jordan Zimmermann
9, Mets: Tom Gorzelanny
10, Mets: Jason Marquis