Cubs scribe: Gorzelanny “wants to start” for Nats

Left-hander Tom Gorzelanny, acquired from the Chicago Cubs in a January trade, will be making his first appearance in a Nationals uniform at spring training in Viera, Fla., early next week.

The Nationals look like a good fit for the big southpaw, who moves from a crowded rotation to a staff in need of consistency in its starting five.
Carrie Muskat, who covers the Cubs for, says Chicago has a lot of starting depth, so maybe a change of scenery was the best thing for Gorzelanny.

“The Cubs obviously have an overload of starting candidates, so Gorzelanny became expendable,” said Muskat, who believes Gorzelanny still has enough to be a starter. “He did well in relief, but he wants to start.”

Gorzelanny went 7-9 with a 4.09 ERA in 29 games, including 23 starts, last season. He recorded 119 strikeouts, second-most in a single season to his 135 in 2007 with the Pirates. His won-loss record might be a little misleading because the Cubs were not an offensive powerhouse last season.

“Last year, every pitcher had to be nearly perfect because the offense struggled,” Muskat said. “Gorzelanny received two or fewer runs of support in 15 of his 23 starts.”

But a sign that Gorzelanny is quality find for Washington general manager Mike Rizzo is the way he handled the lack of offense with the Cubs.

“(Gorzelanny) never complained,” Muskat said. “To his credit, he never made excuses. He’s a great team player.”

Gorzelanny also had to battle through a couple of injuries. His starts and innings numbers were down because he took a couple balls off his body. On April 17, Gorzelanny took a line drive off his upper left arm. On Sept. 1, he was hit on left hand by another liner.

Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty feels Gorzelanny will make a solid addition to the rotation.

“I think it is a very nice piece,” McCatty said. “When we get down (to Viera) and talk, we will see where he fits in. I am sure he will get the chance to start a few games and we will see how that works out.”

Bottom line: McCatty is impressed from what he has seen and heard about Gorzelanny’s velocity.

“He has a quality arm,” McCatty said. “I have seen the reports on his velocity, when we have had guys out watching him, and it looks really good. I am happy with it. I have had a chance to look at the videos, too, and he throws the ball well. I think it was a good move.”

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