"If I were right-handed, we would not be having this interview," Lucas said with a laugh.

Lucas thinks this season "will tell a lot" about his future. He doesn't believe he will combine his degrees with the game by moving into the front office.

Lucas said that he has met the Nationals' two young stars, pitcher Stephen Strasburg and outfielder Bryce Harper. Strasburg was going through rehabilitation last summer after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2010 and Harper was down in Florida after being drafted that year.

Though he knows that Strasburg and Harper possess otherworldly talent, Lucas said that being around them has helped feed his own dream.

"It's not as unrealistic, depending on how hard you work and put in the effort, someday you might be doing the same thing they're doing," Lucas said. "Down there I saw a lot of the guys down there to rehab, and you realize that you might have the skills to play in the major leagues. When they're on TV, they seem like superheroes, but when you play with them and talk with them, it gives you a lot of confidence and motivation."

Lucas is not sure how long he will hold onto his dream of playing major league baseball.

"It changes with the day, it changes with the outing," he said with a laugh. "I'd like to say that I'm going to give baseball my best effort. Considering my age, considering the other resources I have, how fast I'm moving and how the organization feels about my progression, it's definitely become more of a wait-and-see attitude. By the time I get to 27, it's going to be the time I sit back and say, 'Is this a reality?'"

If not, Plan B is ready to go.

don.markus@baltsun.com

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