It's often said that putting together a roster in spring training is like solving a puzzle.
If that's the case, the Nationals' group of pitchers is a Sudoku puzzle - it appears to have multiple solutions at the start, but as numbers are put in place, it becomes clear there's only one place for the rest of the numbers to go.
To wit: If Scott Olsen is healthy, he'll be in the rotation, manager Jim Riggleman said. That leaves two spots left in the rotation - one of which is likely to be filled by new acquisition Livan Hernandez.
If things break that way, it means one spot is left for eight pitchers. And for Craig Stammen, it might mean a move to the bullpen.
Riggleman said this morning the Nationals still are in search of a long reliever.
That could be Tyler Clippard, if there's another lefty in the bullpen besides Sean Burnett. But if there isn't, Clippard will be used in more situations because he's so tough on lefties.
The long reliever probably isn't going to be Garrett Mock or J.D. Martin - the Nationals still consider both of them to be starters. Indeed, Stammen looks like a strong candidate for the job.
"I think we look at Stammen as a guy who could be a potential bullpen guy," Riggleman said. "The other guys, we kind of feel like are starters, just because of what they've done in their minor league careers. Stammen would be the one guy we think of as both roles."