Nats not shop­ping Lan­nan

The Washington Times Daily - - Sports -

Rizzo has got­ten sev­eral calls on left-han­der John Lan­nan, but he said Wed­nes­day he hasn’t been ped­dling the 27-year-old. The Bos­ton Red Sox and Detroit Tigers are among teams ru­mored to be mon­i­tor­ing Lan­nan this spring.

“I am not ac­tively shop­ping him,” Rizzo said. “I haven’t ac­tively shopped him all win­ter.”

If things re­main as is with the Na­tion­als’ pitch­ing staff, Lan­nan may be the odd man out in a ros­ter crunch as the sea­son nears. Chien-ming Wang, who has per­formed well this spring, ap­pears to be the leader for the fifth starter spot.

Lan­nan, who fin­ished 2011 with a 3.70 ERA in 1842/ in­nings, is un­der team con­trol through 2014 and has a mi­nor league op­tion re­main­ing on his con­tract, though he will make $5 mil­lion this sea­son.

At this point, the Na­tion­als feel no pres­sure to move him and are look­ing for at least a com­pa­ra­ble ma­jor league re­turn or an above-av­er­age prospect.

“I wouldn’t say there’s a lot of in­ter­est,” Rizzo said. “In the base­ball an­nals, the word gets out and peo­ple do the math and they see we have too many starters for too many spots. But again, this is way too early to say that we have too much start­ing pitch­ing.” Jer­sey, missed him when he was gone.

“It feels good, es­pe­cially af­ter the last month go­ing up three, four times, know­ing you’re go­ing to be here and know­ing you’re part of this team now,” Au­coin said. “You feel more a part of the team that you’re go­ing to be here. I feel like I’ve been help­ing out the last few weeks, which was huge.”

Since he has reached 10 games with the Caps this sea­son, they must put him on waivers to send him back to the Bears.

Fat chance that’s go­ing to hap­pen, given his value at both lev­els of the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Gen­er­ously listed at 5-foot-9, Au­coin might hit that mark on skates. Maybe. But teammates and coaches see the nat­u­ral tal­ent that al­lows him to play al­lows him to trick op­po­nents into think­ing they can give him more space.

And though he doesn’t pos­sess burn­ing speed like Per­reault or Mar­cus Jo­hans­son, Au­coin finds ways to com­pen­sate for a height dis­ad­van­tage.

“He doesn’t look that fast, but he’s quicker than we think. He’s so smart that he makes ev­ery­thing easy on him­self,” Per­reault said. “That makes up for maybe not be­ing as fast as me or [Jo­hans­son], but he’s still a fast player. You don’t no­tice him, but he’s re­ally quick.”

Now, Au­coin is quickly carv­ing out a niche with the Caps, and do­ing so with Mau­reen, Bray­den and Jer­sey in town af­ter they moved from Her­shey.

“To share it with them both be­ing here is a lot of fun,” Au­coin said. “We’re go­ing to en­joy it as long as we can.”

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