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Zimmermann efficient vs. Braves in spring debut

Mar 1, 2014, 5:28 PM EDT

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VIERA, Fla. — Pity anyone who was late to arrive, or stuck in the concessions line, at Space Coast Stadium on Saturday afternoon. They might well have missed Jordan Zimmermann’s outing altogether.

Zimmermann wasted no time turning in his two innings of work, facing the minimum six Braves batters and needing only 20 pitches to complete his first start of the spring.

“My day was done before I knew it,” the right-hander said.

Zimmermann was out there long enough to work extensively on his fastball and changeup, each of which he kept down in the zone throughout. That produced exactly the kind of result the Nationals love to see from any of their pitchers: five groundballs induced from six batters.

“It makes us think he’s really using his fastball effectively,” manager Matt Williams said. “His ball sinks. It’s good. He threw well.”

Even the one hit Zimmermann surrendered came via a groundball to the hole at shortstop, with Danny Espinosa’s throw to first just a split-second late. No matter, because he immediately induced a 6-3 double play and then cruised from that point on.

This was the first of six projected spring training starts for Zimmermann, plenty of time for him to build up his arm and innings count in anticipation of the season’s first week. It’s also plenty of time for him to have to face familiar foes.

If he stays on a five-day schedule, Zimmermann will face the Braves again Thursday night in Lake Buena Vista. Knowing that, he admits he needs to be careful in how he approaches the division rival’s lineup.

“Yeah, I don’t want to show them everything I have,” he said. “They basically know what I have anyway, but the (less) they can see it, the better off.”

  1. natsfan1a - Mar 1, 2014 at 5:38 PM

    Was out and about and didn’t follow the game in real time, but the game post and comments were pretty funny, fwiw.

  2. Jacob Rasch - Mar 1, 2014 at 5:53 PM

    Jordan Zimmermann was just one of the hidden gems in this otherwise ugly game. My full recap here:

    http://seriousjammage.com/2014/03/01/the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-washington-nationals-spring-training-game-2/

    • nats128 - Mar 1, 2014 at 10:13 PM

      – Despite the fact that this was the Nationals’ Grapefruit League home opener, neither MASN nor WJFK decided to broadcast the game. Which meant that if you wanted to follow this game as a Nationals’ fan, you were stuck with the decision to either follow the MLB Gameday feed or listen to Jim Powell and Don Sutton on the Atlanta Braves Radio Network. The two veteran broadcasters did a good job, treating this game with the sense of bemusement befitting the farce that it was. But it would have been smart of the Nationals to put their home broadcasters on the air for the home opener.

      Glad you mentioned that. Of course, MASN is all over Os camp shooting videos and multiple stories.

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