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[February 28th] -- Livan Hernandez's knee is "fine" but the Nationals are going to take it slow with their big right-hander. Luis Ayala's elbow is "tender" but team official's think he'll be okay "soon." Robert Fick has "floaties" in his right elbow but he's going to "gut it out" this year before having surgery. Brian Lawrence is likely done for the year. And Ryan Drese? Well, that depends on who you ask.

The team is saying that he is throwing pain free, but they want Drese to take it slowly. Hmmm. Sound familiar? After a winter of reports that Drese would be "good to go" by spring, the Washington Post is reporting that team officials still think there is a "chance" that Drese will be available on opening day. A chance? The Nationals need more than a "chance." Livan Hernandez is coming off of an injury. Tony Armas Jr. is coming off an injury. Newly signed Pedro Astacio has had is innings cut short the past three seasons because of injury. Ramon Ortiz is healthy, but he hasn't had a solid season in four years. John Patterson is in good shape, but he tired late last year due to the number of innings he pitched.

There are more questions in the rotations then answers. And that's scary. What does it say about a team's chances when they are counting on Ryan Drese to remain healthy? Livan should do well, and Patterson ought to continue to improve. But the Nationals have to hope that the rest of the rag-tag back of the rotation group stays healthy AND has career years. If both happens, the Nationals will be just fine. But if the planets don't align just right, well, I just don't want to think about it.......

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