Nats leaning toward Chico to replace Lannan

Nats leaning toward Chico to replace Lannan

WASHINGTON -- On Tuesday, Nationals manager Jim Riggleman declined to say who will pitch against the Marlins on Saturday afternoon, but according to a baseball source, the team is leaning toward left-hander Matt Chico, who is currently pitching at Double-A Harrisburg.

The Nationals did not confirm they are leaning toward Chico. An announcement is expected to be made after Friday's game against Florida.

If that is the case, Chico will make his first big league appearance since May 21, 2008. Not too long after that start, Chico had Tommy John surgery and missed almost two years of action.

This season, Chico has pitched in five games for Harrisburg and is 1-2 with a respectable 3.12 ERA. The most impressive stat is Chico has struck out 17 batters in 26 innings and has walked just seven batters. Prior to this season, Chico was known to walked a lot of hitters.

Chico has plenty of Major League experience. In fact, Chico was arguably the Nationals' best starter in 2007, leading the team in innings pitched (167).

The next year, Chico was off to a disappointing start before he was sent down to Triple-A Columbus. He pitched one game before having surgery.