Livan named Opening Day starter

Livan named Opening Day starter

VIERA, Fla.-- On Tuesday, Nationals manager Jim Riggleman officially named right-hander Livan Hernandez the starter for the Opening Day game against the Atlanta Braves on March 31 at Nationals Park.

It will be the fourth time Hernandez has pitched an Opening Day game for the Nationals/Expos during his career.

Hernandez is one of four pitchers in Nationals history to get the Opening Day nod. John Patterson (2007), Odalis Perez ('08) and John Lannan ('09-10) are the others.

"Unless something unforeseen happens, Livan has earned it," Riggleman said. "Not only did he have a good year, but he is also a composed-veteran guy. With the whole atmosphere of Opening Day, he is able to slow the game down and not be overwhelmed by it."

Outside of right-hander Stephen Strasburg, who will start the upcoming season on the disabled list, as he recovers from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, Hernandez was Washington's best starting pitcher in 2010, going 10-12 with a 3.66 ERA in 33 starts. It was his 10th 30-start, 200-inning season. Among active pitchers, only Mark Buehrle has as many such seasons.

Hernandez also owns several organization firsts, including throwing the first pitch in the history of the Washington franchise (April 4, 2005, against the Phillies in Philadelphia) and at home (April 14, 2005, against the D-backs), marking the return of baseball to Washington, D.C. after a 33-year absence. Hernandez was also the team's first All-Star selection.