Washington Nationals: Five Burning Questions For Spring Training
By Ron Juckett
2) OK, INJURIES?
Yes, depth is an issue.
The starting lineup and rotation are among the best in baseball. Behind them? Well…
We know Max Scherzer may not pitch at all this spring as he continues to heal from his hairline fracture on his right ring-finger knuckle. Joe Ross and his tired shoulder flared up last year. Managing his load early sets up how much Baker can lean on him when the season starts.
Oh, Stephen Strasburg is coming off an injury that shut down his season in September. His flexor mass is the most famous arm muscle in DC since Mark Rypien led the Redskins to the Super Bowl a generation ago.
GM Mike Rizzo addressed part of that depth shortage signing several pitchers to non-roster invites and minor-league contracts. Vance Worley is one of those arms with a fantastic chance of making the final roster. We will see him, A.J. Cole and Austin Voth get ample work against big-league hitters in Florida.
Yet, there is a fragile element that cannot be dismissed. As the St. Louis Cardinals discovered with Alex Reyes and his year-ending elbow injury, you never know what will happen when action starts.
Although the bench depth is bolstered by the Lind signing and the return of Stephen Drew, the rotation is not as strong. Washington cannot stress them too much in games that do not count.
A strong spring from Cole will ease minds when the inevitable injuries happen, but if there is anything outside the closer situation we hold our breath on, it is keeping those five starting pitchers in the rotation all year.
Once games start, even these fake ones, bad things can happen.