As it lines up now, the Nationals' pitching schedule has John Lannan on an every-fifth-day path to be the team's Opening Day starter for the second year in a row. That schedule is a tacit admission that Lannan will be the guy, but manager Jim Riggleman said the Nationals could still alter it to start Jason Marquis against the Phillies on April 5.
"The way we've got it lined up, it would set up that either Lannan or Marquis could pitch that day," Riggleman said. "We don't have to finalize that yet. We will probably do that in the next week. If rain gets somebody out of schedule or out of whack a couple times, which can always happen down here, we're able to make an adjustment and feel comfortable with either one of those guys pitching the first game."
Lannan will pitch this afternoon against the Mets, with Marquis following him in another game against the Mets tomorrow in Port St. Lucie. Both will go two innings in their first starts.
Riggleman also said he would use Marquis, a career .202 hitter with five home runs, as a pinch hitter or pinch runner during the season.