Williams announces Jordan as first spring starter

Williams announces Jordan as first spring starter

VIERA, Fla. -- One of the pitchers battling to claim the fifth spot in the Nationals' rotation will be the first to take the mound for the club in Grapefruit League play.

Manager Matt Williams announced on Tuesday that right-hander Taylor Jordan will take the ball for Washington in Friday afternoon's game against the Mets in Port St. Lucie. He likely will pitch a couple of innings and be followed by a string of relievers.

Williams has yet to reveal how the rest of his rotation will follow over the next several games, but the first-year manager is eager to get a look at Jordan.

"The ball comes out of his hand really nicely," Williams said. "For me, he's got a mid-90s fastball with movement, a good changeup, breaking ball for strikes. I've been really impressed with what I've seen. It's electric stuff out of the hand. So I can't wait to see him in a game, get an opposition hitter in there and have some competition for him."

Jordan soared all the way from Class A to the Majors as a 24-year-old last season, posting a 1.00 ERA over 15 Minor League games and a 3.66 mark over nine starts for Washington. He suffered a broken ankle during the offseason, but is recovered and has participated fully in drills early in camp. On Tuesday, he threw live batting practice to Adam LaRoche, Tyler Moore and Ryan Zimmerman.

Jordan is fighting for the No. 5 starter job as part of a group that includes Ross Detwiler and Tanner Roark.

"He just needs to trust himself, trust his stuff," Williams said, "because it's really good stuff."

Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.