A couple of right-handers with a ton of experience are looking to break through and get the last one or two slots in the Nationals’ bullpen this spring.
Former UConn Husky Jeff Fulchino is looking to make a nice impression as Nationals camp gets rolling along.
The 32-year old right-hander threw live batting practice Sunday in the first day of workouts. Fulchino has pitched for four teams since 2006, going 9-10 with 21 holds and a 4.84 ERA in 163 relief appearances over five seasons with the Marlins, Royals, Astros and Padres.
And he is one big dude. The imposing Fulchino stands 6-foot-5 and 285 lb., setting the tone from the mound when the pitch comes bearing down on the hitter.
“Big, strong, monster of a man,” Harrisburg Senators pitching coach Paul Menhart said. “He has a very simple delivery. (Fulchino) has been in the mid-90s (in the past), interested to see what he can do.”
Another veteran who is seeking a job in the pen is right-hander Chad Durbin, who pitched with the Cleveland Indians in 2011, and spent the three previous seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies. He is off to a good start at camp with the Nationals.
“(Durbin) looked outstanding, he looked like he had done it before,” Menhart said. “He throws nothing straight. He can get that ball moving both ways with very, very good command. It showed even (Sunday) first time facing hitters. (Durbin) had a very nice first outing.”
The 34-year old Durbin began his career as primarily a starter with the Royals, Indians and Tigers and then switched permanently to the bullpen with the Phillies in 2008. In 364 games, Durbin has gone 38-46 with a 5.10 ERA and 512 strikeouts.
Meanwhile, left-hander Matt Purke will start the game against Georgetown University Friday, according to manager Davey Johnson. Purke has continued where he left off in Arizona as he embarks on his first professional season in the Nationals organization.
“Matt is doing what he is supposed to be doing in his first big league camp,” Menhart said. “He is keeping his mouth shut and he is soaking everything in. He has obviously worked on the things that we worked on (with him) in the (Arizona) Fall league. He has gotten very comfortable with the small (delivery) adjustments that we made out there. He is doing very, very good.”