MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

No. 1 prospect Giolito sent to Minors camp

Nationals right-hander likely to start season at Triple-A Syracuse

No. 1 prospect Giolito sent to Minors camp

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals right-hander Lucas Giolito, the team's No. 1 prospect, was assigned to Minor League camp Wednesday afternoon. He will likely start the season with Triple-A Syracuse.

Giolito appeared in four games this spring, allowing three runs in 6 2/3 innings while striking out nine and allowing opponents to hit .250 against him. Giolito thought he would be one of the first cuts this spring, but he ended up learning so much from his teammates.

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"I'm very happy I was able to stay up here as long as I did," Giolito said. "Coming up here, my main goals were to make an impression and just try to soak up everything I could. I had assumed going in I'd probably be one of the first cuts, just because of the experience level.

"But they kept me around, which I'm really appreciative of. I'm just going to keep working hard and take everything I learned with [pitching coach] Mike [Maddux] and talking to the other pitchers and everything, and hopefully make an impact soon."

Mayo on Nationals prospects

General manager Mike Rizzo believes Giolito is close to being big league ready, but he has to work on the nuances of pitching.

"The bulk of his developmental curve is complete, but he needs to work on the smaller details of preparation, participation and performance, trying to get Major League hitters out," Rizzo said.

Giolito plans on holding runners better and making mechanical adjustments.

"Another big thing I'm working on is a mechanical adjustment with loading my hips more to get my legs a little more involved, and put some more power behind each pitch," Giolito said. "Yeah, definitely fastball command is the big thing, especially with the two-seamer now, which is a new pitch this year."

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