Nationals' Peacock Handles Transition To Bullpen





WASHINGTON — If the day comes when Brad Peacock is asked to move to the bullpen, at least he'll know he's capable of blowing away top-notch competition.

With the Arizona Fall League's Scottsdale Scorpions, he's pitching in relief for manager Randy Knorr, who guided the Nationals' Double-A Harrisburg team this past season. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound righthander is not undergoing a role change, said farm director Doug Harris, but simply easing out of a year in which he threw 142 innings between high Class A Potomac and Harrisburg.

"He did have a pretty sizable volume already this year," Harris said. "We don't have any plans to push him to the bullpen. We just wanted him to get a little bit of work (in the AFL)."

In the regular season, when Peacock started in 25 of his 26 games, he was 6-11, 4.50 with 148 strikeouts, 47 walks and 142 hits allowed.

Peacock, 22, was a 41st-round draft-and-follow out of Palm Beach (Fla.) CC in 2006. He signed for $110,000 and has worked his way up the system with a combination of power pitches.

Though Peacock's fastball was clocked at 96 mph throughout the season and has been at 93-95 in Arizona, it's not the velocity that is most important for him.

"He's leveraging the ball very well, and combined with his curveball he has two swing-and-miss pitches," Harris said. "He has a power curve that varies from an 11-to-5 to a 12-to-6. His third pitch is a changeup, and I even saw him lock up a lefthanded hitter for strike three with one of those when I was out there."

CAPITAL GAINS

• Catcher Derek Norris had the first two-homer game of the AFL season and was off to a .300/.463/.767 start in 30 at-bats for the Scorpions. After an injury-riddled regular season with Potomac, he was tied for second in the AFL with three homers and tied for third with 14 RBIs. "He has a good idea, and he's not chasing bad pitches," Knorr said. "He doesn't need to think about hitting it 600 feet. He just needs to use the middle of the field, and he'll run into home runs."

• General manager Mike Rizzo signed a five-year contract extension and was given the additional title of executive vice president of baseball operations. Rizzo "is unquestionably one of the best baseball minds in the game," managing principal owner Ted Lerner said.