Young strong again, LaRoche heating up, Rodriguez being Rodriguez

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Dating to March 14, Chris Young has now worked 12 straight innings without allowing an earned run.

Some big league team out there has a hole in its rotation, and that team might be wise to take a shot on this 6-foot-10 right-hander.

Young held the Astros to two hits and an unearned run through four innings tonight, and if not for two misplayed popups, he would have retired 10 of the last 11 he faced.

As it is, he's still pitched pretty darn well, especially after allowing a hit and a walk in the first inning.

All told, Young allowed an unearned run after a Bryce Harper dropped popup led to a run, two hits, one walk, one hit batter and two strikeouts.

Young can opt out of his minor league contract with the Nationals if he so chooses, and after holding the Astros to one run over four innings on March 14, throwing five scoreless against the Marlins on March 20 and posting his strong outing tonight, he should have some suitors.

His spring ERA currently sits at 2.25. Yeah, someone will want this guy.

Meanwhile, Harper went 3-for-3 today with an RBI before being taken out for a pinch-runner in the fifth inning. He's now hitting .459 this spring.

Man, oh, man.

Adam LaRoche put the Nats on top 4-1 in the fifth with a solo shot to right-center. It's his third homer of spring and second in as many nights. The notoriously slow starter is heating up.

Henry Rodriguez came in to relieve Young in the fifth, and after throwing balls on his first seven (seven!) pitches, including two that were in the batter's box, he responded to retire the final three hitters he faced.

Two of those three outs were strikeouts, both looking.

Man, oh, man.

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