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Gausman learning how to handle big league hitters

WASHINGTON -- Rookie right-hander Kevin Gausman spent most of Spring Training in Major League camp, but he's still learning the difference between big league hitters and those in the Minors.

Gausman said he's already made tweaks for Tuesday's start against the Nationals, based on things he learned from his debut Thursday in Toronto.

"They're going to hit mistakes," Gausman said of Major League hitters. "Looking back on my last start, I watched video of it the day after, and all the balls that they hit really hard for extra-base hits were balls that I missed my spot or didn't make the pitch that I was trying to make. So that, more than anything, just trying to get back to what I was doing in [Double-A] Bowie: leaving the ball down and continue to get ground-ball outs."

The players in the big leagues have a better physical skill set, but the 22-year-old said the biggest difference is in their game plan and preparation.

"You know, more than anything, the guys up here just have more of an approach at the plate," Gausman said. "Their first at-bat, they might watch a couple pitches and then the next at-bat, they're coming up looking for a fastball the first pitch. So they kind of have a plan."

Nathan Karns will start against Gausman on Tuesday. Karns, 25, was the Nationals organization's Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2012 and will be promoted from Double-A.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. Derek Wetmore is an associate reporter for
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