Nats leaning toward Chico to replace Lannan
Lefty would be making first Major League start since 2008
WASHINGTON -- On Tuesday, Nationals manager Jim Riggleman declined to say who will pitch against the Marlins on Saturday afternoon, but according to a baseball source, the team is leaning toward left-hander Matt Chico, who is currently pitching at Double-A Harrisburg.
The Nationals did not confirm they are leaning toward Chico. An announcement is expected to be made after Friday's game against Florida.
If that is the case, Chico will make his first big league appearance since May 21, 2008. Not too long after that start, Chico had Tommy John surgery and missed almost two years of action.
This season, Chico has pitched in five games for Harrisburg and is 1-2 with a respectable 3.12 ERA. The most impressive stat is Chico has struck out 17 batters in 26 innings and has walked just seven batters. Prior to this season, Chico was known to walked a lot of hitters.
Chico has plenty of Major League experience. In fact, Chico was arguably the Nationals' best starter in 2007, leading the team in innings pitched (167).
The next year, Chico was off to a disappointing start before he was sent down to Triple-A Columbus. He pitched one game before having surgery.
Club faces hard choice when activating Morse
WASHINGTON -- The time will soon come when the Nationals will have to activate outfielder/first baseman Mike Morse. Washington most likely would have to take an outfielder off the 25-man roster. It will be a tough decision for the team.
It's a given that Willie Harris will be on the team because he could play every position except first base, pitcher and catcher.
The Nationals have given strong indications that they want to give playing time to Roger Bernadina and Justin Maxwell. Of all the outfielder on the 25-man roster, Willy Taveras has seen the least amount of playing time of late.
The Nationals could let Morse spend his entire rehab with Triple-A Syracuse before making a decision. He could play to 20 games before being activated. Morse has already played seven games and is 6-for-30 (.231) with a home run and three RBIs.
Morgan wants to improve prowess on bases
WASHINGTON -- Nyjer Morgan is off to a slow start when it comes to stealing bases. Entering Thursday's action, Morgan has stolen six bases, but has been caught six times.
Morgan said he was baffled as to why he has been caught so many times this season. He was recently given permission to slide headfirst as long as he could get to the bag without any problems. The team prefers if he goes into the bag with his feet first to avoid a hand injury.
"Terrible, Terrible, terrible," Morgan said about his lack of success on the bases. "It's frustrating because I never had a streak like this in the big leagues. I think what I'm doing is, I'm thinking wrong counts. It feels like I'm going back to a learning stage.
"It's frustrating, but I still have to stick with my aggression. I can't lose it. It's just part of the game. Basically, it's going to even itself out. I can't get down on myself. I have to keep going, but I can't run into outs because it will kill rallies."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.