Roark preparing to pitch out of bullpen for Nationals

Roark preparing to pitch out of bullpen for Nationals

WASHINGTON -- Nationals manager Matt Williams declined to announce his starting pitcher for Game 4 (if necessary) of the National League Division Series on Tuesday (time TBD on FOX Sports 1), leaving open the possibility of using left-hander Gio Gonzalez or right-hander Tanner Roark. But Roark indicated on Thursday that he is preparing to fill a relief role against the Giants.

"Yeah, I'll be in the bullpen for now and I'll be ready to go whenever they need me," Roark said. "Whenever that phone rings and they call my name, I'll get loose, get ready."

Gonzalez already seemed to be the favorite to start, considering his experience, track record and recent success, with a 2.36 ERA over his last seven outings.

  Date Time Matchup Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 3   SF 3, WAS 2 video
Gm 2 Oct. 4   SF 2, WAS 1 (18 inn.) video
Gm 3 Oct. 6   WAS 4, SF 1 video
Gm 4 Oct. 7   SF 3, WAS 2 video

Roark did nothing to pitch himself out of the rotation, posting a 2.85 ERA over 31 starts in his first full Major League season. The 27-year-old also is comfortable working out of the bullpen, though. His first nine appearances last year came in that role, and Roark allowed only three earned runs on 14 hits over 22 2/3 innings, with 19 strikeouts. He also split time between starting and relieving throughout his six seasons in the Minors.

"The more I learned about pitching and myself, you've just got to treat it the same way as when you're starting," Roark said. "Go out there and attack guys, and go after them and don't be scared of anybody."

Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.