Jun 3, 2011, 6:29 AM EST
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Jordan Zimmermann turned in his sixth straight quality start Thursday night.
PHOENIX — For nearly four years, since the day the Nationals drafted him out of tiny Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Jordan Zimmermann had been more concept than reality. The right-hander would show glimpses of his immense ability, but the inconsistencies of a young pitcher along with major elbow surgery kept his status firmly in the category of “prospect,” not “front-line, big-league starter.”
At last, though, that transition appears to be happening before our eyes. Zimmermann has begun to not only flash his potential, but sustain a level of success that suggests this guy is no longer a project. He’s the real deal.
“He’s learned how to pitch at this level,” Steve McCatty, the Nationals pitching coach, said. “He got here so quick. Now he’s actually learned how to pitch.”
Never was that more on display than during Washington’s 6-1 victory over the Diamondbacks Thursday night, when Zimmermann mixed and matched his pitches over seven sterling innings to continue his prolonged stretch of success.
In a brief career that spans only 34 starts, the 25-year-old has enjoyed flashier outings. He struck out 11 Braves last month. He
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