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NATIONALS: In Surprise Move, John Lannan Optioned To Syracuse

By ZAC BOYER | | @ZacBoyer

WASHINGTON – John Lannan will make his third consecutive opening day start, but this time it will be in Syracuse.

Lannan, the Washington Nationals’ opening day starter each of the last two seasons, was optioned to Triple A on Tuesday in a surprise move that comes no more than a week after manager Davey Johnson said the lefty would serve as the team’s fifth starter.

As a result, Ross Detwiler will open the season in that role, with Chien-Ming Wang out of action for up to a month because of a hamstring injury.

“It was a tough day, and not the way I’d like to end up spring training,” Johnson said Tuesday.

Lannan, 27, went 10-13 with a 3.70 ERA for the Nationals last season, starting 30 games and making 16 quality starts. He had one more option year remaining on his contract, which Johnson said was the primary reason for sending him to the minors.

Detwiler, 26, spent parts of four of the last five seasons with the Nationals, including making 10 starts in 15 appearances while going 4-5 with a 3.00 ERA. The left-hander would have had to pass through waivers if he was to be assigned to the minors.

“Came as a big surprise,” Detwiler said. “I came to terms with going to the bullpen and being the long guy and waiting for an opportunity. It came up a whole lot quicker than I thought it would.”

Johnson wanted to speak to Lannan before the game, but owing to the difficulty of the decision, put it off until the third inning of the team’s game against Boston. Lannan left Nationals Park after being informed of the decision.

“I mean, he’s a part of this team,” Johnson said of Lannan, whose return is uncertain and may not be for some time. “I mean, the circumstances over the winter made it much more competitive out there, and you don’t want to lose them. You don’t want to put him in a situation he can’t be comfortable in, and that’s not a good option, but it’s the best one out there.”


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