Washington Nationals: John Lannan Gets Shelled in First Minor League Start

Kenny DeJohn@@kennydejohnAnalyst IIIApril 9, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 02: Pitcher John Lannan #31 of the Washington Nationals in the dugout against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park on August 2, 2011 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The saga continues.

Just five days after being outrighted to Triple-A Syracuse by the Washington Nationals, John Lannan was set to make his minor league debut for the Chiefs on Sunday.

The start was his first in the minors since 2010.

With no progress made on his request for a trade, Lannan took the mound with his major league teammates in Chicago to face the Cubs.

It was not Lannan's best performance, and certainly not one that will help to improve his value—or his case to make it back to the Nationals, for that matter.

He lasted just two innings while allowing five runs on six hits and two walks.

Lannan labored through the two innings, throwing a total of 56 pitches. He threw first-pitch strikes to just six of the 14 batters he faced, and faced either 3-0, 3-1 or 3-2 counts six different times.

Needless to say, it's hard to pitch well when you're constantly pitching from behind.

If Lannan was looking to get back at the Nationals for sending him to the minors, this certainly wasn't the outing he was hoping for. If anything, this performance just reinforced the Nationals' decision.

We can definitely chalk this one up to his lack of control and his inability to get ahead in the count, but it's safe to say we can also attribute the loss to a lack of focus.

Lannan has been very distracted by his trade demands, as well as the fact that the Nationals sent him and his $5 million salary to the minors.

He feels that he deserves to be in a major league rotation, and he is clearly very frustrated by the way things have played out in the early goings this season.

We'll have to see if he can get back on track in his next start. If he can't, he'll be digging an even deeper hole for himself.