Livan Hernandez, who has been pitching in simulated games and who has only made one appearance in a big-league spring training game since the Nationals signed him early this month, will start next Wednesday against the Yankees, manager Jim Riggleman said Friday afternoon. That would be Stephen Strasburg’s day to pitch, and while Riggleman wouldn’t say for sure that Strasburg would be cut from major-league camp between now and his next start, plenty of signs point to tonight being Strasburg’s last appearance in a big-league spring training game this spring.
The Nationals have repeatedly stated their preference for Strasburg to start the season in the minor leagues, and both Strasburg and Hernandez will be ready to go five innings in their next outings. It’s possible Strasburg could stay in big-league camp and pitch simulated games, but those would be against minor-leaguers anyway. He is slated to pitch April 8, which is Opening Day for Class A Potomac, and the Nationals could have him make his last two starts of the spring in the minors -- with a possible appearance April 3 against the Red Sox at Nationals Park -- before starting him at Potomac.
“We’re going to meet tomorrow -- myself and Mike (Rizzo) and the rest of the guys, and put some moves together that we’re going to be making in the next three days,” Riggleman said. “Some of them will be made Monday. But that will be one of the discussions we’re going to have, I’m sure.”