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03/22/08 7:15 PM ET

Lannan, Chico battling for No. 4 spot

Young left-handers fighting it out for job in Nationals rotation

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals left-hander John Lannan continues to show that he belongs in the starting rotation. He pitched six innings and gave up one run on three hits in a 4-1 victory over the Braves at Space Coast Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Lannan, who threw 64 pitches, is having the best spring of any Nationals starter except for right-hander Jason Bergmann. Lannan has a 2.45 ERA this spring, but it looks like he may not be in the rotation when the team heads to Washington D.C. next Thursday night. He is currently battling left-hander Matt Chico for the fourth and final spot in the rotation, but manager Manny Acta strongly implied on Friday that Chico won the job.

Lannan said he believes that it's fair that Chico, who has a 3.50 ERA this spring, should be the frontrunner because he is more experienced in the big leagues.

"Chico was the workhorse last year. Whoever they pick deserves it," Lannan said. "They are all great pitchers. I don't even look at numbers. He went out there and had a good year. Last year, he was [almost] in the same boat as I was. He never pitched above Double-A. Given that, I thought he threw pretty well. He deserves to be up there."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.