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Nats at Cardinals (ss) – 3/3/11

Mar 3, 2011, 3:00 PM EST

File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, home of the St. Louis Cardinals.

There's no question how important this season is for Jordan Zimmermann, who after battling back from Tommy John surgery is fully healthy and poised to develop into the quality starting pitcher the Nationals felt they were getting before he got hurt.

Today, Zimmermann takes the mound for the first time this spring, facing a split-squad Cardinals lineup that still boasts some fearsome hitters (Albert Pujols chief among them). The right-hander has enjoyed a good camp so far; now we'll see how that translates into actual confrontations with opposing batters.

Plenty of regulars made the trip to Jupiter for today's game, including Jayson Werth, Ian Desmond, Ivan Rodriguez and Nyjer Morgan. Other pitchers scheduled to appear after Zimmermann include Garrett Mock, Shairon Martis, Todd Coffey, Doug Slaten and Adam Carr. Bryce Harper also was on the travel roster and is expected to come off the bench.

Since I'm back in D.C. now, there won't be mid-game updates. But please continue the discussion with each other, and if there's any significant news from Florida, I'll do my best to pass it along…

Roger Dean Stadium, Jupiter
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
TV/Radio: None
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 75 degrees, Wind 21 mph in from CF

CF Nyjer Morgan
SS Ian Desmond
RF Jayson Werth
1B Michael Morse

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  1. Joe Seamhead - Mar 3, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    Interesting lineup, starting with Morse @ 1B, and followed by AG @3B and the Pudge/Ramos thing. I'm starting to seriously wonder if Nyjer is on borrowed time?

  2. Sunderland - Mar 3, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    That's a good good chunk of the Cards projected regulars in their lineup.

  3. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 3, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    The pressure has to be mounting on Nyjer. He better start positively against somebody named Brandon Dickson.

  4. N. Cognito - Mar 3, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    Unless he has a great year, which I highly doubt, Morgan will be here, at most, until the end of this season.The Nats brass believe he's better than what he was last year, but I believe they still look at him as a placeholder for a true CF and leadoff hitter.One of these days (perhaps even before Opening Day), our Nyger nightmare will be over.

  5. Steve M. - Mar 3, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    So they are missing Matt Holliday and the Nats are missing Ryan Zimmerman and LaRoche and the slugger Roger BERNadina.Also, Nyjer Morgan gets to face a RH AAA pitcher so he better get some offense going.

  6. N. Cognito - Mar 3, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    Guess who's back in the news.

  7. Jaxpo Nat - Mar 3, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    Pathetic: Ex-MLB Star Accused Of Slapping Pregnant Ex.Elijah Dukes Held Without Bond After Arrest.

  8. NtasJack in Florida - Mar 3, 2011 at 3:26 PM

    Just yesterday at the game someone asked me what Dukes was up to and I stated, "Well, if he's not in jail, he's roaming the streets of Tampa/St. Pete fashioning himself as a gangsta rap star."

  9. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 3, 2011 at 3:27 PM

    "Since I'm back in D.C. now, there won't be mid-game updates."Mark, I hope you made arrangements for somebody to leave the pressbox. How are they going to score otherwise?

  10. Steve M. - Mar 3, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    N. Congnito, this report fails to call him by his new name Fly Eli the successful rapper.

  11. joemktg - Mar 3, 2011 at 4:53 PM

    "Since I'm back in D.C. now, there won't be mid-game updates."Not going back?

  12. natsfan1a - Mar 3, 2011 at 4:59 PM

    Well, technically, he *did* leave the press box, so the offensive onslaught should continue. :-)—Mark, I hope you made arrangements for somebody to leave the pressbox. How are they going to score otherwise?

  13. Doc - Mar 3, 2011 at 5:31 PM

    The trick will be for Mark to come and go from the press box(es) in Florida during each game.Too much travel; the Nats will have to score without his 'bat'. Guess they may not be scoring again until March 21st!

  14. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 3, 2011 at 5:45 PM

    True dat, 1a.Now, who *is* at the game and can keep us up?

  15. JD - Mar 3, 2011 at 6:00 PM

    The thing that jumped at me when I read the Dukes story is the phrase: 'pregnant girlfriend'. The tragedy in this whole story is that he keeps on procreating.

  16. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 3, 2011 at 6:03 PM

    I actually have to work today, but I'm listening to the Cardinal feed on my computer.

  17. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 3, 2011 at 6:08 PM

    Nyjer grounds weakly to short to start the game. And as I said to him on Tuesday, "at least your OB percentage didn't go down".

  18. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 3, 2011 at 6:19 PM

    AK is live from Jupiter (tcntp), and Ben is Tweeting, in addition to the excellent feed from NatsJack. Thx!

  19. CBinDC - Mar 3, 2011 at 6:34 PM

    Mark you deserve a medal for your work on Danjazzera between Sheehan trying to spit verbal acid at you and Loverros snark and bad jokes you still inform and enlighten thank you

  20. Anonymous - Mar 3, 2011 at 6:46 PM

    Alberto singles (STL Radio "he came out of the box like he thought he had a double"), Nyjer bunts, Yadier throws it away. Bunt single, two base error, Alberto plated and Nyjer standing on 3B.

  21. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 3, 2011 at 6:47 PM

    Nyjer Morgan finally lays down a bunt towards 3rd and Yadier Molina throws it down the RFline for an error. Alberto Gonzalez scores from 1st and Morgan goes all the way to third.Desmond follows with an RBI single to left.2-0 Nats, top of the third with 2 outs and Werth up.

  22. joemktg - Mar 3, 2011 at 6:49 PM

    Was Nyjer sacrificing or bunting for a base hit?

  23. Donald - Mar 3, 2011 at 6:52 PM

    Any word on how JZimm pitched? Is he still in the game?

  24. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 3, 2011 at 6:57 PM

    Nyjer was bunting for a hit. And JZimm is pitching into the third with 1 out and Pujols on firsr after his second hit…. Update… Schumaker grounds into a Morse (on first) Desmond to JZimm double play. Inning over.I think JZimm gave uo 4 hits, no runs, no walks and one K.

  25. A DC Wonk - Mar 3, 2011 at 7:09 PM

    Top of the 4th: Pudge, Ramos, and A Gonzo all single… Nyjer up with bases loaded and two outs… Grounder to 1st to end the inning. No runs scored on three hits.

  26. joemktg - Mar 3, 2011 at 7:14 PM

    It's official: Nyjer's pressing in a pressure situation, i.e., to hold on to his position as a major leaguer.

  27. Anonymous - Mar 3, 2011 at 7:16 PM

    Mark…Have to tell you i love this blog but I'm saddened that CSN has taken over things. To pull you from spring training reporting from Florida on March 2nd? Good plan Comcast. First rate outfit…

  28. MGG - Mar 3, 2011 at 7:36 PM

    Ok soooo Mock didn't do so well, and now we have….Tim Wood? Anybody know who this guy is? Bueller?

  29. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 3, 2011 at 7:36 PM

    Garrett Mock is seeing his last days with the Nats. Why a pitcher does not understand the importance of establishing a fast pace when on the mound is beyond me. Errors hurt but walks and fat pitches hurt worse.

  30. MGG - Mar 3, 2011 at 7:40 PM

    Agree NatsJack, I don't think Mock will be with us when opening day rolls around.

  31. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 3, 2011 at 7:42 PM

    And may I suggest we select a committee to negotiate a price to buy back our personal sportswriter? Taking him away from Viera at this time is stupid!

  32. Feel Wood - Mar 3, 2011 at 8:03 PM

    Looks like this may finally be the year when they quit Mocking us.

  33. Les in NC - Mar 3, 2011 at 8:20 PM

    I have to agree, NJ. Taking "our" Nationals beat writer away from the hub of the action when ALOT can change during the first 2 weeks (or any week) of the Grapefruit League, is a questionable decision at best.Anywhoo, I was just wondering if our team had made any errors as of yet (Baseball Tonight reported that the Cubs had made 14 errors so far this spring), then Espinosa makes one. Ugh…

  34. BinM - Mar 3, 2011 at 8:26 PM

    Waiting for Rizzo to dust off the "I got tired of watching him" quote for use on Mock.

  35. Garrett M - Mar 3, 2011 at 8:39 PM

    Fielding let me down and the blue weren't giving me Garrett Mock strikes.

  36. N. Cognito - Mar 3, 2011 at 8:55 PM

    Six unearned runs but the pitching was just as much to blame. Just because the inning should be over, you can't let up and allow several more guys to get on base.

  37. Feel Wood - Mar 3, 2011 at 8:58 PM

    Notice how the shoddy defense returned as soon as the substandard pitchers starting taking the mound? There IS a correlation there.

  38. gonatsgal - Mar 3, 2011 at 9:04 PM

    oh man, not a good day for G. Mocks & it didn't help any we had errors. Shake it off Nats. Let's beat the Yanks though in the next game! Go Nats!

  39. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 3, 2011 at 9:16 PM

    We get the Braves tomorrow at Viera (I'll be there) then it's off to Tampa to play the Evil Empire on Saturday.Feel Wood…. That's what I meant about the guys who don't understand about pitching to a fast pace. It keeps everybody alert and ready plus, if you're bad like Mock, it gets you out of the game quicker.

  40. Anonymous - Mar 3, 2011 at 9:23 PM

    Why in the world did Comcast bother hiring a guy to cover the Nats and then pull him off the job at the most critical time of the year? When the Nats are on TV every night we really don't need the insight as much as we do in March. We don't have that much press covering this team and Comcast has taken away the best of the bunch. Lame.

  41. Anonymous - Mar 3, 2011 at 11:25 PM

    Tried to listen to the St.Louis broadcast on XM today. Boy did their announcer, especially the color guy trying to do play by play, really mailed it in. They had Rodriguez up and then Campos and then said DH Espinoza was at the plate and I was thinking, where is Campos playing. Then I read Espinoza was the second baseman. They misidentified pitches, outs, and players in the field and on the bases. Man, have a little pride in your work. You have a great gig.

  42. JayB - Mar 3, 2011 at 11:36 PM

    Njack,Rizzo has a real blind spot for "his guys" Mock and Morgan are both way past proven losers. What do your sources say about this issue. For all the good Rizzo has done for this team if he has this type of fatal flaw in his evaluation skills then he needs a counter balance….he does not seem to have it or be listening to it.

  43. BinM - Mar 4, 2011 at 2:07 AM

    JayB: I'm not sure if it's purely Rizzo's 'blind-spot' or more of what he gets in feedback from McCatty & the other Assistants with Mock, Morgan & some others. But at some point, he might have to let what he actually sees (in person & on tape) overrule what he hears. Much like with Shell, Hinckley & Cabrera, he just has to say "I got tired of watching them".

  44. BinM - Mar 4, 2011 at 2:34 AM

    @anon-6:25:Don't know who is doing the radio side for the Cardinals' broadcasts currently, but a year-or-two ago, their 'color' guy was Mike Shannon (a former Cards' 3B) and he was completely clueless; Listened to a couple of their ST broadcasts when WFED wasn't covering the game. They weren't 'homers' like Santo (w/the Cubs), but Shannon would just make unrelated comments about players from his era (or prior). After four or five innings, it just became a mashup of current events & 3rd-person history – Very weird, and very hard to listen to. Between the Cards', the Astros' (fairly neutral, IMO), and the Yankees broadcasts, I grew to appreciate the radio team (Jaegler & Slowes) that we currently employ.

  45. Anonymous - Mar 4, 2011 at 2:58 AM

    So wait Norris had something on his face when Harper is suggested by many to leave it? Does not make sense.More than the loss, error by Danny hurts. I wanted him to have a perfect ST.

  46. Anonymous - Mar 4, 2011 at 5:58 AM

    1. You're being a little tough on Mike Shannon, one of the few ex-jocks who actually does play-by-play on the radio. It is early spring training, after all, and most of his audience is only interested in the Cards.2. Sure, Mock missed on too many pitches, but if Morse gets an out at the plate, as he should have, and Espinosa doesn't botch a ground ball, Mock's inning wouldn't look nearly as bad.

  47. JayB - Mar 4, 2011 at 9:16 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  48. JayB - Mar 4, 2011 at 9:19 AM

    lots more data than just this spring on Mock. He has never thrown strikes….3 walks….come on…that is just what he did last year and the one before….He looks scared, works at a very slow pace, and is afraid to challenge hitters with strikes…..Agree with Njack…his pace of work causes a huge problem for defenses. That outing showed everyone that nothing has changed in his approach and he is NOT going to change his approach…get his attention with a trip to MILB camp…nobody is going to claim him but he has an option anyway as I recall…..bye bye before he infects the team any further. The Big Change this year should be zero tolerance for repeat head cases who consistently under achieve.

  49. NatsJack in Forida - Mar 4, 2011 at 11:12 AM

    Anonymous @ 9:58 …. Harper wore eye black on Wednesday and nobody said anything. It's not that he can't wear it. It's that he has to wear it normally and not like Mel in Braveheart.

  50. JayB - Mar 4, 2011 at 12:02 PM

    Njack,Thoughts on Mock and why he is still on the 40 man after several years of proven failure most of which is in his head…….at age 28 is there really a chance the light will go on?

  51. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 4, 2011 at 1:11 PM

    JayB…. My take on it is that he's extremely talented from the neck down and has fought through several injuries however, as you point out, he's a head case. The injuries have allowed the evaluation period to drag on. I wouldn't be suprised if Rizzo's Father is behind some of these extended evaluation periods. Mike puts alot of weight on what his Dad says.

  52. JayB - Mar 4, 2011 at 1:49 PM

    Njack…that is interesting……what are the examples of extended evaluations….way past what most would get…….. proving out to be successful calls by Dad…..Morse maybe but he hit from the day he got here so I would not count that…..I would say the benefit of Maxwell, Morgan, Mock, Chico types is far outweigh the roster space cost of keeping them year after year…add in the lost opportunity cost of someone else and I see a bad trend here.

  53. Feel Wood - Mar 4, 2011 at 2:50 PM

    Mock is coming off an injury and pitched like one inning in the fourth of thirty or so meaningless spring training games. That's not an "extended evaluation" by any means. He's not taking innings away from any other pitchers at this point. It's pretty clear that he's being given his last chance to show that he's not worthy of being DFA. My bet is that he'll get maybe one more appearance this spring to show something, and unless he's uncharacteristically lights out in that appearance, he'll be gone. It sure would be nice if JayB would spare us his rants until there's a valid reason for them. If Mock is still on the team when they head north, JayB, rant away. Until then, chill out.

  54. JayB - Mar 4, 2011 at 3:47 PM

    You mean like last year when he did go North and yet again proved he just does not have the mental make up to pitch at this level as a then 27 year old…..Look it is not about this spring it is about all the past wasted time on these type of guys…they clog up 40 man roster and their is a lost opportunity cost to that. Again….where have we seen an upside example to these endless tryouts year after year for the Chicos Mocks and Maxwells of the world?

  55. Feel Wood - Mar 4, 2011 at 4:20 PM

    JayB, here's a hint for you. Any time your entire rant starts and ends with "you mean like last year" it has passed its sell-by date. Give it a rest. Please.

  56. Big Cat - Mar 5, 2011 at 1:20 AM

    Marrero 2 for 2 with a double and a ribbie. Why oh why are these journeyman guys in here playing in front of him. I can see Laroche, cause we gave him big bucks, but, come on Riz this guy is one of ours…..ohhhhh….wait….did Bowden draft him? Ok ok, now its starting to make sense. Anyhow, Chris is now 4 for 4 this spring.





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

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