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Jordan focuses on fastball command in solid start

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VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals right-hander Taylor Jordan, who is being considered for the fifth spot in the rotation, was solid in a 2-0 loss to the Astros on Wednesday night.

He lasted five innings, allowed one run and struck out five. The run came in the first inning. With one out, Jose Altuve reached base on an infield single, then he stole second before going to third on a throwing error by Jordan. Altuve then scored on a groundout by Jason Castro.

Manager Matt Williams noticed that Jordan was more aggressive with his fastball than he was in his last start against the Tigers. In that start, Jordan relied heavily on his breaking balls and allowed four runs in three innings.

"I was definitely focusing on my fastball command today more than my offspeed because that's the type of pitcher I am," Jordan said. "I'm a sinker-ball, ground-ball pitcher. I'm not a strikeout machine or whatever. So I had some good movement on my fastball today. That was nice to see."

Jordan said he is not thinking about competing with right-handers Chris Young and Tanner Roark for the fifth spot in the rotation. He talked about spending Tuesday's off day at home, collecting himself and relaxing.

"I just had a great day and did not stress and that's exactly what I did. I'm just not worried about [the rotation]," Jordan said.

Jordan said this spring has been stressful because he didn't know if he was going to be ready for Spring Training after breaking his right ankle this offseason. He hurt his ankle in a freak accident while coming out of a swimming pool and was in a cast for a month.

"I broke it in October and I had to really hurry up my rehab, my lifting and throwing," Jordan said. "I had to be on top of it this offseason. My ankle feels as good as new."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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