MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Dusty juggles Nationals' rotation plans

Strasburg to follow Scherzer in opening set against Braves

Dusty juggles Nationals' rotation plans

WASHINGTON -- Nationals manager Dusty Baker announced the obvious on Saturday. Right-hander Max Scherzer will be the Opening Day starter, but the skipper changed his mind on who would who pitch after Scherzer.

A few weeks ago, Baker said left-hander Gio Gonzalez would pitch the second game in Atlanta, which is Wednesday. But Baker reversed course and said Stephen Strasburg would get the nod instead, after he originally said he would pitch the home opener. Baker did not reveal who would pitch the next three games at Nationals Park between Gonzalez, Tanner Roark and Joe Ross. One thing is certain: Gonzalez and Ross will start the season in the bullpen in Atlanta.

"Right now, it's Scherzer [for the opener], Strasburg [for the second game] in Atlanta. Then, it's going to roll around," Baker said. "Then, with the off-days and the extra day in there, [pitching coach] Mike [Maddux] has it all programmed out. After the first go-around or go-around and a half, it will be the way we want. But, right now, we've got Scherzer and Strasburg in Atlanta. We changed it around.

"... It was a product of the rain [during last week of Spring Training] and also a product of how we wanted to break them up and stuff. During the course of the year it can still change. It depends on who needs to skip a turn or who is ailing some, or off-days or rainouts. This is just how we envision it to start."

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.