03/17/09 5:45 PM ET
Nats tap Lannan for Opening Day start
Left-hander will square off against host Marlins on April 6
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
Left-hander Scott Olsen will pitch on the night of April 7, while righty Daniel Cabrera will start the next afternoon.
Lannan, who clearly is the Nationals' best pitcher, is coming off a rookie season in which he was 9-15 with a 3.91 ERA. This spring, Lannan hasn't given up an earned run in six innings.
"What impresses me about John is his command of all his pitches, the poise on the mound beyond his years and his competitiveness on the mound," assistant general manager Mike Rizzo said. "He is a soft-spoken guy off the field, but, on the mound, he is a tiger and he goes after hitters. That separates him from a lot of pitchers in the National League."
An 11th-round pick in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, Lannan's rise to the big leagues was rapid. Two years after being drafted, Lannan went from Class A Potomac to the Majors in one season and had a respectable 4.15 ERA in six big league games. By early last season, Lannan was the team's No. 1 starter.
Lannan, 24, was not available for comment.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.