Giolito up to task, eager to face Mets in Majors

Nats' top prospect delivers 2 innings in first spring start

Giolito up to task, eager to face Mets in Majors

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Lucas Giolito remembers when he was 12 years old -- "before they took the bat away" he joked -- and when Mets third baseman David Wright was one of the players he looked up to.

So, it represented a cool moment for the Nationals' top prospect Friday night when Wright stepped into the batter's box during the first inning of a 12-7 victory over the Mets, even after Wright drove the first pitch he saw into right field for a single.

"It's like what you dream about as a kid is slowing turning into a reality," Giolito said.

Although he had made three other appearances this spring, this was Giolito's first Grapefruit League start. And he did his best to treat Friday night like a regular-season start.

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He did not want to be told how many innings (two) or pitches (26) he would throw so he could focus on attacking a lineup that featured many of the players he watched last fall during the Mets' run to the World Series. He thought it was cool to face Wright, Curtis Granderson and Yoenis Cespedes. A friend pointed out to him earlier in the day that his opposition on the mound, 42-year-old Bartolo Colon, was twice his age.

When manager Dusty Baker approached Giolito in the dugout to tell him his night was done, the right-hander said he wanted to remain in the game because his arm still felt good.

The single by Wright was the only hit Giolito allowed across two scoreless innings. He issued a walk and struck out the final batter he faced, Kevin Plawecki. It served as a small taste for Giolito, who appears poised to soon face these same Mets in a much more meaningful situation.

"I'm looking forward to that," he said. "To face those guys in front of like 40,000 ... where the games mean a lot and every win counts. I want to be on that hill having control over that to a certain extent."

Jamal Collier is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.