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Nats plan on stretching out Garcia

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals manager Davey Johnson plans to stretch out right-hander Christian Garcia when the Grapefruit League season begins. Garcia could pitch three to four innings in his outings.

Because Garcia has three pitches in his repertoire, Johnson considers him a starter, but he knows that Garcia is a quality reliever.

"[I told him], you could think of yourself however you want, but if you could get comfortable starting, that would be great," Johnson said.

Garcia was a September callup last year and allowed three runs in 12 2/3 innings out of the bullpen. He also struck out 15 batters.

"His curveball is great. Fastball has great movement. He pitches in the mid-90s. He threw some 97-mile-an-hour sinkers last year that were unhittable," Johnson said about Garcia. "He threw some of the best changeups. His curveball might be even better than [Stephen Strasburg's]. It's a knuckle-curve. Starters go to the 'pen, not the other way around. He just has a great arm."

Washington Nationals