PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Nationals reliever Nathan Karns acknowledged that he was nervous when he entered Monday's 6-4 victory against the Mets. In fact, after pitching in the sixth inning, manager Davey Johnson told Karns to "breathe" after realizing Karns was red-faced and sweaty.
Karns looked like a veteran in the seventh inning, however. In all, he pitched two shutout innings, allowed a single to David Wright and struck out three batters.
"It has been a long time. It was a first-time outing under the lights," Karns said. "It was a little something special. It was nice."
Karns, ranked by MLB.com as the Nationals' No. 6 prospect, was named the organization's Minor League Pitcher of the Year after going a combined 11-4 with two saves and a 2.17 ERA in 24 games this past season with Class A Hagerstown and Class A Potomac. The 24-year-old led all Washington pitchers in ERA and strikeouts (148), while his win total ranked tied for second.