Brad Peacock, who made his major league debut in relief of Stephen Strasburg last Tuesday, won't pitch in that role during Strasburg's second start on Sunday, manager Davey Johnson said. Instead, Peacock will likely get his first major league start next week in New York against the Mets.
Johnson had initially planned to use Peacock in relief of Strasburg this month, but in Strasburg's debut last Tuesday, he pitched an inning longer than Johnson had initially planned. The Nationals didn't go to their bullpen until the sixth inning, and Johnson used Doug Slaten to start the inning with a pair of left-handed hitters due up. But that meant Peacock entered the game with two men on base, and he allowed a run on four hits in 1 1/3 innings.
"I think that was unfair to him," Johnson said. "I think I'm going to have him start in about three or four days. I probably won't have him (pitch in relief). But I may - don't hold me to it."
Peacock threw a bullpen session, and would throw another one tomorrow if he didn't pitch. That would put him in line to pitch on Wednesday, when Tommy Milone is scheduled to start. But the Nationals plan to give Strasburg an extra day of rest after his start tomorrow, and would need to use six starters to do that. So if Peacock pitches Wednesday, Milone and John Lannan would also be bumped back a day, and Strasburg would pitch again next Saturday against the Marlins.
Johnson said in general, he has no problem keeping Peacock in the bullpen this year. With the Nationals in need of a sixth starter, though, he'll get his shot against the Mets.
"I am definitely very excited. I am more comfortable starting, but I can do both," Peacock said. "It doesn't matter to me. Whatever they want me to do, I will do it."
Strasburg threw just 56 pitches in five innings in his last start. The Nationals will undoubtedly be cautious with him, but Johnson said he doesn't have a set pitch count for Strasburg on Sunday.
"I'm going to see how he's coming along," Johnson said. "I'm not going to let him struggle."