WASHINGTON -- Washington Nationals Opening Day starter John Lannan is experiencing "discomfort" in his left elbow, a problem he's had since his April 21 start against the Colorado Rockies, it was revealed today at Nationals Park.

Lannan, the 25-year old left-hander, said he felt discomfort during the start, and it affected how he threw his two-seam fastball and change-up specifically, two pitches which he needs to succeed.  He immediately told trainers and the team set him up with an MRI.

The MRI was "clean", according to GM Mike Rizzo, but did indicate some swelling around the flexor tendon in Lannan's elbow.  According to Lannan, the doctors told him that there was no damage to the ligament, nor did they find any bone chips in the elbow.

"Of course, it's frustrating.  I've never really been injured before," Lannan told reporters from the dugout after batting practice.  "The goal is to get better.  Hopefully this program works out and I just skip this next start and I'll be back for the next start."

Natually, Lannan did not want to blame the injury for his ineffectiveness, saying he just failed to locate his pitches, but he also indicated that he wasn't able to "finish" his two-seamer or change-up, which would affect his control.

Lannan does not have an explosive fastball, so he needs to rely on control and keeping runners off the base paths as he pitches to contact.  In his major league career, he's walked an average of 3.5 per nine innings pitched.  This season, that number has risen to 5.0 per nine, so obviously something had been wrong with him.

His hits per nine have also risen, from his career number of 9.1 to 12.4 per nine this season. 

Neither Rizzo nor Manager Jim Riggleman would not speculate as to whom might take Lannan's next scheduled start, Friday night against Florida.  Rizzo said the team would consider players on the current roster (most likely Miguel Batista) or summon someone from the minor leagues.

Let me lay this to rest though:  even though Stephen Strasburg's next start is scheduled for Friday in Syracuse, there's no way on this green earth that he will be considered to take the start. I think.