Lopez fires 5 scoreless in season debut for Potomac

Nationals' No. 4 prospect allows just two hits while fanning three

Lopez fires 5 scoreless in season debut for Potomac

The Minor League baseball world is still waiting for Nationals No. 1 prospect Lucas Giolito to step on the mound for his first start of the season. In the meantime, Class A Advanced Potomac teammate and No. 4 prospect Reynaldo Lopez provided an impressive return of his own on Thursday afternoon.

While Giolito is scheduled to start Friday, Lopez made his season debut in Thursday's 2-1 win over Wilmington. He struck out three and only gave up two hits in five innings of shutout ball. Lopez also ran his scoreless innings streak to 14 2/3, dating back to 2014.

"It was great to see him out there," Potomac manager Tripp Keister told MiLB.com. "He commanded his fastball. I haven't seen him a lot, and that's what stuck out to me, when he commanded his fastball. He didn't walk anybody, pitched to both sides, very efficient with his work."

Washington decided to push back the pair's 2015 debuts after both hit their innings limits last year, so Giolito and Lopez spent the first month of the season putting in extra work at the Nats' spring training facility in Viera, Fla.

Lopez, a 21-year-old signed as an international free agent in 2012, went 7-3 with a 1.08 ERA between Class A Short Season Auburn and Class A Hagerstown during his third year as a pro, and only served up 26 walks in 83 1/3 innings of work.

Alex M. Smith is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.