Lannan focused on pitching, not trade rumors
Nats righty in regular-season form, ready to be No. 5 starter
VIERA, Fla. -- Ever since the Nationals signed right-hander Edwin Jackson to a one-year, $11 million contract last month, left-hander John Lannan has heard his name in trade rumors.
Entering Spring Training, the Nationals appeared loaded with starting pitching, and it looked as if Lannan was the odd man out.
However, Lannan has ignored the trade rumors. For starters, no one from Washington's front office has approached Lannan about the possibility of being dealt. General manager Mike Rizzo has gone on the record as saying he is not actively shopping Lannan.
"I haven't heard anything internally. It's basically just rumors," Lannan said. "I know what I am. I've had success. That's what I can focus on -- what has made me successful just to get better. I haven't really focused on any of the stuff that has been outside. To me, it's just noise. It doesn't really affect me.
"You have to have confidence in this game. If you doubt yourself, if you think you are not good enough, it's going to show. It's a process where you have to go out there -- no matter what is said, no matter what [rumors are said]. You have to go out there and be yourself."
Lannan has been himself on the mound. In his last two starts, for example, Lannan has allowed a combined two runs in nine innings. Lannan had arguably his best outing of the spring on Monday, going five innings and allowing two runs on two hits in a 7-4 victory over the Astros. He threw 71 pitches, 48 for strikes.
"Today, I'm pretty close to where I want to be," Lannan said. "I gave myself a chance. I trusted it. I'm so hard on myself. I just let it work. I just tried to throw as many strikes as I could."
Before Monday's game, manager Davey Johnson announced that Lannan would be the fifth starter in Washington's rotation.
Right-hander Chien-Ming Wang was supposed to be the fifth starter, but he will start the season on the disabled list because of a strained left hamstring. Lannan is coming off a season in which he was 10-13 with a 3.70 ERA.
"John is my guy. I like John," Johnson said. "John can pitch. He led our club last year in wins, and I think last year he was two or three [in the rotation]."
Lannan went so far as to say he doesn't need anyone like Johnson to set aside time to assure him that he will remain a member of the Nationals in 2012.
"Davey has a lot on his plate. He doesn't have to worry about me," Lannan said. "He has other things he might have to worry about. I want him to know that he doesn't need to come over here, tap me on the back and say, 'Hey, it will be OK.' I just don't need that from him."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.