LAKELAND, Fla. (CBSDC) – The sledding might have just gotten a bit tougher for right-hander Taylor Jordan in the competition for the fifth spot in the Nationals rotation.
Jordan was shaky in his fourth start of the spring, giving up four runs on seven hits over three innings in Friday in a 12-6 loss to the Tigers, raising his ERA to 6.30.
Jordan gave up two hits, struck out two while hitting a batter in the first two innings but then ran into trouble in the third, giving up four runs on five hits as the Tigers sent eight men to the plate.
“I wasn’t very pleased with it,” Jordan said of his outing. “I wasn’t locating pitches very well and wasn’t getting the low called strikes like I should have. A lot of those pitches were borderline strikes and none of them were called.”
Jordan gave up RBI hits in the inning to Torii Hunter, Victor Martinez, Austin Jackson and Nick Castellanos. He could have limited the damage if he could have started a double play on a ball hit right back to him by Alex Avila. Instead, he bobbled the ball and was only able to get the out at first base which kept the inning alive.
“A lot of the pitches I was just babying,” he said. “The change-up and the slider, I was just babying them, trying to just guide them almost to where I wanted it.”
Nats manager Matt Williams wasn’t too concerned about the outing but he does want to see Jordan use his fastball more.
“The pitches he got beat with today were breaking balls and change-ups, Williams said. “Again, we are just encouraging him to use it because it’s a good one. The ball sinks in the low to mid 90’s and he needs to use it.
Positive news for Fister
Nats starter Doug Fister threw for the fourth consecutive day on Friday, this time it was a bullpen session after throwing three days on flat ground as he continues to recover from right elbow inflammation.
The news was very encouraging for the Nationals.
“Fister was good and had no issues with his bullpen today,” said Matt Williams. “He extended with all of his pitches. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow but today was good.”
The plan for Fister is to give him a couple of days off and see how he feels with the hope they can get him facing live hitters very soon.
“It’s a positive sign,” said pitching coach Steve McCatty. “You have to be cautious right now and make sure he is fine. We will see how he is tomorrow morning and depending how he is, we’ll see when we can get him in a game.”
More Spring Training Reports from Craig Heist: