KISSIMMEE, Fla. - If Tom Gorzelanny is a virtual lock to be in the Nationals' rotation, he'll have to be better through the rest of the spring than he was tonight.
In his first spring start, the left-hander gave up five hits in 2 1/3 innings, getting taken out in the third inning and allowing three runs, though only two of them were earned and two came in on the first pitch Garrett Mock threw in relief of Gorzelanny.
But he also threw a wild pitch, walked three and had a tough time finding the strike zone all night, throwing just 23 strikes in 47 pitches. It's only his first outing in a game, after throwing two innings in an intrasquad game, but he's clearly a step behind Ross Detwiler and Chad Gaudin so far this spring.
Gorzelanny should get three more outings this spring to get ready for the season. That the Nationals are paying him $2.1 million this season, as well as the fact he has no options, means he's likely to on the major league club. And several scouts this spring have gone out of their way to mention that Gorzelanny can help the team. He's got to recover in the near future, though.
UPDATE AT 9:17 PM: Gorzelanny said he was more pleased with his first outing than the box score would indicate; he said he was around the zone with most of his pitches, barely missing the strike zone, and pointed to the bases-loaded double play he got at the end of the first inning.
If there was one pitch he wasn't happy with, it was his slider; Gorzelanny said his location was off with the pitch all night, and he was pulling off the pitch.
"It's something to work on, but I'm not worried about it," he said.
But overall, he said, "I feel right about where I need to be."