09/05/10 2:45 PM ET
Maya excited to make impact in Majors
By George Von Benko / Special to MLB.com
Maya was in the clubhouse on Sunday in Pittsburgh, but hasn't been officially added to the roster. A baseball source confirmed that the Cuban will make his first big league start on Tuesday against the Mets.
"I'm really happy to be in the big leagues," Maya explained through an interpreter. "It's a dream come true."
In his two starts at Syracuse, Maya has allowed one run on eight hits and five walks while striking out nine in 10 1/3 innings. The Nationals signed Maya, 28, this summer to a four-year, $6 million contract and see him as a fixture in their future rotation.
"I felt good in the Minors," Maya said. "My arm is at 100 percent, and I feel really good. It's a hard league in Triple-A, with a lot of veteran hitters that are pretty selective. I faced pretty tough hitters, but I felt pretty good."
In-form Lannan looks to finish year strong
PITTSBURGH -- Washington lefty John Lannan continues to reap the benefits of a midseason demotion to Double-A. He allowed only one run for the second consecutive start, as the Nats downed the Pirates, 9-2, on Saturday night.
"He's on a streak now," Nats bench coach John McLaren observed after Lannan's gem on Saturday. "He feels good about himself, he's really done a good job for us here over the last two months. He's been really good."
Lannan improved to 5-1 with a 2.93 ERA in seven starts since returning from a six-week stint in Double-A to rehab his mechanics and confidence. Lannan's overall numbers are 7-6 with a 4.73 ERA.
"He's going to be here for a long time," catcher Ivan Rodriguez said of Washington's Opening Day starter. "He's going to be in our rotation for a long time. He was our No. 1 guy starting the season. Struggles came for him at the beginning of the season, but now he's the John Lannan everybody knows. He's the guy who pounds the strike zone, keeps the ball down and moves the ball around. He's a good pitcher, and he's going to be fine."
McLaren is impressed by the adjustments Lannan was able to make to return to his strong form.
"It looked like his mechanics were out of synch, and he lost his confidence, and that's a bad combination," McLaren said. "He's back. He's got his confidence back, and he's on a roll now."
Lannan used the demotion to Double-A Harrisburg to get some things straightened out and made the most of his stint in the Minors.
"I think my stuff has gotten a little better, my secondary stuff," Lannan said. "My changeup, that's my go to pitch, but before going to Double-A everything was breaking early, and they saw it out of my hand. Now I think I'm getting a little more late movement and that is helping me."
Lannan wants to finish the season strong and feels he has grown as a pitcher and is excited about the future.
"That was the goal coming out of Spring Training," Lannan said. "I was confused on how to do it. It was a growing process, and I thought that physically trying to pitch better was the way to do it, but that's not how this game goes. The best pitchers are the ones that kind of think about each pitch and really know what they are doing each pitch -- that's what I needed to get to. That's what I'm feeling on almost every pitch, why I'm throwing it and what is it setting up and what am I trying to do. I realized that, that is the way to get to that next level. I think I'm taking the next step."
Nats bolster pitching depth with callups
PITTSBURGH -- Right-hander Collin Balester was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse on Sunday. He returns for his third stint with the Nationals.
He began the 2010 season in the Syracuse rotation, and after a shift to the bullpen, he went 2-0 with a 3.45 ERA in 29 appearances.
Also in the clubhouse, but not added to the roster yet, was Ross Detwiler. The lefty has been on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hip flexor. He began a rehab assignment with Class A Advanced Potomac on Aug. 28, and has rejoined the team as a September callup.
Right-hander Yuneski Maya, who allowed one run in 5 2/3 innings in his final Minor League start for Syracuse on Wednesday, was also in the Nats' clubhouse, but hasn't been officially added to the roster.
"Detwiler is healthy," Nats manager Jim Riggleman said. "Right now we've got about seven starters, so we're just going to work him in when we can. Hopefully by the end of the year we'll have a good read on him, and what his role will be in the future for the ballclub, but right now we'd like to have him help us win some games whether it's as a starter or out of the bullpen.
"Maya will start, whether it's Tuesday or not we'll announce that soon, but he's going to start some games. Olsen is going to start some games, Detwiler is going to start some games. All of them will probably pitch in the bullpen as well, like I said there's about seven of them. We're not ready to say here's the five we are going to use. It's possible that we could piggyback them. We may designate a day where we're going to use two guys, and Balester is on the roster today."
As part of the 50th anniversary to the 1960 world champion Pirates team, the club dedicated and unveiled the Bill Mazeroski statue prior to the game on Mazeroski Way outside the right-field gate at PNC Park. ... Manager Jim Riggleman's two-game suspension has ended, and he was back on the bench for Sunday's game. ... Third-base coach Pat Listach began his two-game suspension Sunday. Hitting coach Rick Eckstein coached third base for the Nats Sunday and will do so again Monday.
George Von Benko is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.