Lannan joins Phillies, ready for some healthy competition

Why did John Lannan pitch so poorly against the Phillies and decently against the rest of the competition?

“It was me not executing pitches against some really good Phillies lineups,” Lannan explained at Citizens Bank Park Tuesday. “It doesn’t matter where you’re pitching, if you don’t execute your pitches.”

Considering that Lannan has struggled so much in South Philly, much like Chad Qualls before he signed last offseason, it’s perhaps a bit surprising that he chose Philly hands down over other organizations interested in his services.

“I thought this was the best fit,” Lannan said. “I jumped at the chance. I’ve seen firsthand what the Phillies are capable of doing. I can bring a lot to this team and I can learn from the guys with all of their experience. It wasn’t about the money. It was about the best opportunity.”

Lannan, who is 42-52 with a 4.01 ERA, believes the Phillies can go deep in 2013.

“I think the Phillies have a great shot,” Lannan said. “That’s why I came here.”

Lannan hasn’t been officially anointed as the fifth starter. And he doesn’t mind vying for a spot.

“There is nothing wrong with some healthy competition,” Lannan said. “Nothing is ever assumed. Last year is an example. I’ll compete with the young guys and I’ll do my best.”

Lannan, who was a fixture in the Nationals rotation since 2008, was surprised when he was exiled to Triple-A after spring training last April. So Lannan is back where he started, in a way. The tall left-hander made his major-league debut with the Nats at Citizens Bank Park in 2007. He was ejected from the game after he broke Chase Utley’s hand with a fastball.

“It was six years ago,” Lannan said. “That’s water under the bridge. I’m not going to blow people away. I have to pitch inside to good left-handed hitters.”

Lannan said he never spoke with Utley about ending his chance at earning a potential MVP award that went to Jimmy Rollins. But he’ll have plenty of chances to chat with Utley and his former Nationals teammate Laynce Nix. Lannan said he spoke with Nix and former Phillie Jayson Werth. Each gave the organization a big thumbs up.

“So coming in I knew a little about it,” Lannan said. “It’s weird being in a different clubhouse, but it’s a new chapter in my baseball life.”

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