Marquis trying to be too perfect on hill
Starter admits to not letting natural athleticism take over
WASHINGTON -- A day after having the worst outing of his young season, Nationals right-hander Jason Marquis learned he will start against the Dodgers on Friday at Nationals Park.
Marquis kept himself busy on Monday with a live bullpen session, and he hopes he has figured out his problems on the mound.
Washington was in a 10-run hole after the top half of the first inning Sunday against the Brewers. Marquis faced seven hitters and didn't record an out, ultimately getting charged with seven runs on four hits.
The right-hander became the first starter in Nationals history to not record an out in a game. Marquis threw 28 pitches, 13 strikes, and has now given up 19 earned runs in 8 1/3 innings for Washington this season.
"I did a few things differently. I have to recreate that feeling," Marquis said. "I threw and I felt a lot better. I just have to stick with one thing and go with it instead of searching and trying 10 different things. I have a plan in mind. I felt good in my bullpen session and I hope to take that out into the game."
When things go wrong for him on the mound, Marquis is known to throw a lot in between starts. Rockies pitching coach Bob Apodaca said Marquis should not do that; instead, he should stop trying to become a perfectionist and let his athleticism take over. Apodaca should know, for he was Marquis' pitching coach last season.
As a member of the Rockies, Marquis had a disappointing second half, going 4-7 with a 4.56 ERA. This came after Marquis represented the team in the All-Star Game in St. Louis.
"Jason is a perfectionist, sometimes to the detriment of himself," Apodaca said. "He loses that freedom of being an athlete on the mound and tries to be perfect. His biggest asset is his tremendous movement on his fastball. I think he gets caught being too precise instead of being aggressive with his fastball. When he stays in good counts with his fastball, it opens up for his cut fastball and his off-speed pitches.
"[Jason] would throw every day. I would make sure he cuts down on some of his side sessions because he would do it every day. He throws every day on flat ground. I know what's happening and what [Nationals pitching coach] Steve McCatty is going through right now. I caution not to blame everything on mechanics. Sometimes, it's not mechanics. Sometimes, it's the mechanic who is causing more problems."
Marquis didn't deny that he tries to be a perfectionist on the mound, and agreed with Apodaca that he must let his athleticism take over.
"I want everything to be right," he said. "I want to be as good as I can be. I work hard to do that. If you want to call that being a perfectionist, so be it. I tinker a lot, which sometimes get me in trouble. Ultimately, I have to go back to basics, and be an athlete and go with what's comfortable, instead of having my legs and hands in certain positions."
Villone in Nats' extended spring training
WASHINGTON -- A little more than a month after getting his unconditional release, it was learned left-hander Ron Villone re-signed with the Nationals. He has been with the team for several weeks, and the Nationals wanted to add more bullpen depth.
Villone, who is currently on the disabled list because of a leg injury, is in extended spring training in Viera, Fla. There is no timetable as to when he will get back on the mound. Once he is healthy, Villone will most likely will head to Triple-A Syracuse.
Last year, Villone was considered the veteran leader of Washington's bullpen. He pitched in 63 games and had a 4.25 ERA.
Strasburg to pitch Wednesday morning
WASHINGTON -- Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg will pitch five innings or throw 85 pitches for Harrisburg on Wednesday morning. Thus far, Strasburg has pitched in two games, and has given up one earned run in 7 1/3 innings.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.