Late Round Pick A Nice Surprise For Nationals

WASHINGTON — In lefthander Danny Rosenbaum's junior season at Xavier, he could tell that hitters were looking to take his pitches to the opposite field. Now that he's in professional baseball, that has changed.

"Ever since I got in this organization, I've learned a lot from the coaches and the coordinators about pitching inside," Rosenbaum said. "That has made things so much simpler. It has opened up everything else."

Rosenbaum, 22, was a 22nd-round find for scout Alex Smith and the organization last year. He went 4-1, 1.95 in 37 innings for the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League champions last summer and was off to a 1-0, 1.57 start through 29 innings at low Class A Hagerstown this year. For the Suns, he had allowed 22 hits and five walks while striking out 25.

With a fastball that sometimes touches 90 mph, an improving changeup, a curveball and a slider he developed last year in college, the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Rosenbaum is thriving in his first full minor league season.

"The change is what I worked a lot on in spring training," Rosenbaum said. "We really harped on it, and I've been using it quite a bit."

Farm director Doug Harris said, "He has good pitchability and command. He's very poised and focused, and he's an excellent worker."

Rosenbaum had success with Xavier and in Rookie ball, but this year represents a new challenge.

"It's a huge difference," Rosenbaum said. "In the GCL, there were maybe five people there. But the other night at Lakewood (in front of 7,099), that's the biggest crowd I've thrown before in my entire life. The atmosphere is great. You can really just have fun playing baseball."


• Righthander Luis Atilano was promoted after going 2-0, 1.64 in 11 innings at Triple-A Syracuse. Through two starts with the Nationals, the 24-year-old was 2-0, 2.25 in 12 innings. He was acquired from the Braves in 2006 for outfielder/first baseman Daryle Ward shortly after having Tommy John elbow surgery.

• The day after Atilano's major league debut, lefthander Aaron Thompson won in a spot start in his Triple-A debut by allowing only one run in five innings. Thompson, 22, returned to Double-A Harrisburg, where he was 1-2, 2.82 in 22 innings.