Lannan ready for first start against the Braves

The Nationals look for their first runs and initial win of 2011 Saturday with a 1:05 p.m. start at Nats Park against the Atlanta Braves in Game 2.

The Braves send right-hander Tommy Hanson (10-11, 3.33 ERA) to the hill, opposed by the Nationals’ 2010 opening day starter, left-hander John Lannan (8-8, 4.65).

Lannan said he got what he needed out of spring training in Viera, Fla.

“I went out there and threw strikes,” Lannan said. “I was not really too concerned with how I did out there just how I felt. I felt good. When you come into a season that is all you care about is how you feel. I am ready to go.”

Lannan ended last season on a roll and he hopes he can pick up where he left off to start 2011. One of his best outings came Sept. 15 at Atlanta, notching the win, throwing six innings, scattering eight hits, allowing two runs with three walks and six strikeouts. He threw 99 pitches, 56 for strikes.

“That is what I was looking for last year,” Lannan said. “I was looking to build off what I did last year towards the end. I wanted to come in hear as strong as possible. I feel strong.”

Lannan recovered from a strained flexor tendon in his pitching arm to pitch well in the final month of last season.

“It is definitely not easy to pitch when you have something that bothers you,” Lannan said. “Your rhythm is off. A lot of things were out of whack for me last year. You figure it out and kind of build off of that.”

Lannan saw the Braves new lineup Thursday and knows what to expect on Saturday. Lannan has had more wins against Atlanta (five) than any other opponent in his career.

“The Braves have a good lineup,” Lannan said. “I need to get ahead, throw strikes and get ground balls. The addition of (Dan) Uggla definitely helps them out and now (Jason) Heyward has that year under his belt. I am ready to go.”

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