Nationals agree to contract with John Lannan

The Nationals agreed to a contract with left-hander John Lannan for the 2011 season on Monday, avoiding arbitration with the pitcher, who’s headed into his fourth big-league season. Lannan’s deal, according to an industry source, is worth $2.75 million.

Lannan, 26, has been the Nationals’ Opening Day starter each of the last two seasons. He struggled early last year, getting optioned to Double-A Harrisburg in June, but came back to be one of the team’s most effective pitchers in the last two months of the season. Lannan posted a 3.42 ERA in 11 starts, going 6-3 in those games and striking out 47 batters.

He’ll be counted on to help anchor a rotation that will be without Stephen Strasburg for most of this season. At this point, Lannan and Livan Hernandez would seem the most likely options to start on Opening Day.