VIERA, Fla. -- The battle for the fifth spot in the Nationals' rotation will begin Friday as right-hander Taylor Jordan will get the start against the Mets. Pitching coach Steve McCatty gave him the news on Tuesday and Jordan was surprised. He is expected to pitch two innings.
"It's pretty cool that I'll be starting the first game considering it was more than I thought I was going to get," Jordan said. "I think it's going to be a good game. I'm just very excited."
The young right-hander is hoping he can start working on his slider on a more consistent basis. He acknowledged that he had tightness in his forearm because he started working on his slider too early in the spring.
"I kind of laid off [the slider] for a little bit. Tuesday was the first time I threw my slider in the bullpen and in live batting practice. It's a work in progress," Jordan said. "You can definitely see it. It's hit or miss right now."
Jordan is coming off his best season in professional baseball. On an innings limit after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2011, he pitched a combined 142 innings in the Major and Minor Leagues, won 10 games and had a 1.96 ERA.
After being selected in the ninth round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Jordan admitted he didn't follow the rules during his first couple of years in professional baseball. For example, if he had to do a running drill, he would cut it short or try to find a way to get out of it.
"I wasn't doing the right thing my first two years. I was kind of being a rebel and being young," Jordan said. "But then when you start going with the program and the system, my maturity starts kicking in. That's when I started to listen to them."
If one talks to Jordan, he seems to be a happy-go-lucky guy. Baseball is not the most important thing in his life. His girlfriend, Mandi Meil, is expecting a baby girl in July. He would like to name his daughter, Alexis.
"My life is great right now," Jordan said. "If I got sent down to the Minor Leagues, it's really not the end of the world. I just have to work harder to get [to the Major Leagues]. That's about it. I wasn't expected to be in the big leagues last year. Everything from here on out is just great."
Hill offers praise for Treinen after BP session
VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals catcher Koyie Hill was impressed by what he saw from right-hander Blake Treinen during a live batting practice session on Wednesday.
Hill said Treinen has a great sinker. After the session was done, Hill was heard praising Treinen, who was rated by MLB.com as the 17th best prospect in the Nationals' farm system. Treinen will likely start the season as a starter, but the Nationals haven't ruled out a bullpen role for him.
"It's one of the better [sinkers] around. I know he is a younger guy, experience wise, but he has a special thing there," Hill said. "The only thing he lacks is experience. You almost wish he could hit off himself and see how difficult it is to hit. I hate to over praise, but he has a phenomenal sinker. It's a special sinker. Just to get that through his mind, at no point in count is he in trouble. If he can locate that thing down, it's special."
Perez still an option for Nats bullpen
VIERA, Fla. -- One has to wonder if the Nationals are interested in adding another piece to their roster. Keep your eye on the bullpen. If the Nationals don't like what they see from their bullpen, it would not come as a surprise if the Nationals show interest in free agent left-hander Oliver Perez.
A week ago, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, the Nationals still had interest in Perez. Another person said the Nationals could have interest in Perez if Ross Detwiler remains in the rotation. This offseason, the Nationals traded for left-hander Jerry Blevins and they still have holdover Xavier Cedeno.
Last year, Perez turned himself into a solid reliever for the Mariners, going 3-3 with a 3.74 ERA. Perez is familiar with the Nationals. He played for Double-A Harrisburg in 2011 after the Mets released him. That year, Perez had a 3.09 in 16 games for Harrisburg.
Here is the Nationals' lineup for Friday against the Mets:
1. Nate McLouth -- RF
2. Danny Espinosa -- 2B
3. Ryan Zimmerman -- 3B
4. Adam LaRoche -- 1B
5. Ian Desmond -- SS
6. Wilson Ramos -- C
7. Tyler Moore -- DH
8. Scott Hairston -- LF
9. Eury Perez -- CF
Taylor Jordan -- P
• The Nationals have agreed to terms with all 17 of their pre-arbitration players, settling the contract terms for all 40-man roster players for 2014. The list includes: Danny Espinosa, Ryan Mattheus, Tyler Moore, Xavier Cedeno, Tanner Roark, Taylor Jordan, Jhonatan Solano, Erik Davis, Eury Perez, Christian Garcia, Jeff Kobernus, Sandy Leon, Zach Walters, Aaron Barrett, Sammy Solis, Steven Souza Jr. and Michael Taylor.
• Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg had a live batting practice session on Wednesday and Zimmerman was impressed with how Strasburg was able to throw his new pitch, the slider.
"He looked good. He threw a few sliders, a couple of good ones. It looked pretty good," said Zimmerman, who faced him in the batting cage. "Anytime you can add another pitch that people have to worry about, it makes it harder to face that person."
• The Nationals will have a light workout Thursday at Space Coast Stadium.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.