“Right now,” Lannan said in the Nationals clubhouse, “I’m mentally getting ready for that start.”

The Nationals still haven’t decided whether they’ll give the ball to Lannan, who threw 101 pitches in five-plus innings, on Sunday in Pittsburgh or let the bullpen cobble together nine innings. Manager Jim Riggleman and pitching coach Steve McCatty will monitor Lannan and decided later this week.

“We’ll analyze that as we go,” Riggleman said. “The number of pitches is not that big a deal. We’ll kind of look at that in the next couple of days, see how he’s feeling. We don’t have to make the decision quite yet.”

Lannan is preparing as if he’ll pitch. Right after he came out of the game, he started doing the weight-lifting and running he would typically do the day after a start – or four days before one. Lannan may never have thrown on three-days rest before, but he believes that he can.

“I’m ready to go,” Lannan said. “As soon as I got out of the game, I knew I kind of had to get things going you’ve got to be ready for whenever you start. And we’ll see what happens. It’s up to Riggs and Cat to see if they want me to do that, but I’m ready.”