The Washington Nationals first spring game is now merely days away, and as they prepare to face the New York Mets Friday, their lineup and pitching lineup is set. Taylor Jordan will lead off a day that will also see A.J. Cole, Christian Garcia, Xavier Cedeno, Manny Delcarmen and Aaron Barrett all try to impress Nationals brass with their work against the Mets.
Jordan of course is one of the names we will read vying for the Nationals fifth starter spot, with his fiercest competition most likely being Ross Detwiler and Tanner Roark. Jordan is coming off a season where he was shut down in the wake of his Tommy John surgery after spending parts of his 2013 with the Major League club. Jordan pitched to a 1-3 record and a 3.66 ERA in nine starts. Jordan was solid in his time with the Nationals, though the defense behind him betrayed him a lot, and his record could have been much better. Regardless, Jordan proved he can get major league hitters out, though more seasoning would not hurt him.
So, does Jordan starting the Nationals first exhibition games mean anything in terms of him making the Nationals rotation? Well, that’s hard to say, since the first time starters go through spring starts they usually don’t go longer than two innings, maybe three max based on pitch counts. This could simply be a decision based on the fact that Jordan was shut down in 2013, and this would, in theory, be his first time seeing major league hitters since August.
Chances are that this is probably a benign decision, and really has no bearing on who may have the inside edge in making the rotation. Again, Matt Williams may want to go with the most Major League experience, so it would be easy to make Detwiler the front runner, though it never hurts to speculate.