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Guess where I went to lunch? (And actual baseball stuff)

And it wasn't just me. Seriously. Mark Zuckerman from the Washington Times. Craig Heist from WTOP. Toni Sandys, the Post's intrepid photographer. Peter Lockley, the Times's photog. Dave Jageler from the radio team. "Even I eat there now, you know," said Thom Loverro of the Washington Times, seated directly to my left in the press box.

Yes, with Day One of full-time Nats duty comes the annual rite of spring, much like fresh-cut grass or a warm breeze: the first trip to Panera.

Let's make this brief: In 2005, when I first showed up here, there was but one (1) place to go for a quick lunch, and it was indeed Panera Bread (at The Avenue at Viera, the local mall). Since then, several places have sprouted up, and we'll get to them over the next five weeks. But on Day One, I have to go back to my roots. (Today: Chicken Pomodoro Panini, large unsweet ice tea, small bag o' chips.)

Baseball: Shawn Hill threw another live BP session today, and man, he looks good. No one hit a ball in the air off him (his group included Wily Mo Pena and Lastings Milledge), and he set a few guys down on three pitches. At one point, Barry Larkin, watching by the side of the cage, watched one of those sinkers come in on the outside part of the plate, turned to Jim Bowden (I was between the two, and Bowden was watching when he wasn't making fun of my flip-flops), and said, "That's disgusting."

"Give me five of those guys," Bowden said. "Five of them, and we'll compete."

(And for those of you who are wondering, yes, it was good to see the sinker after a long, cold winter, though what was said between us I'd rather keep to myself.)

Hill reported nothing other than what he now considers normal soreness. The only ball that appeared to be a "hit" against him was on his last pitch, which Milledge grounded up the middle. Yet, naturally, he wasn't completely satisfied. "If I started getting satisfied really early," he said, "then I've got nowhere to go." Good point.

Other stuff from the morning: Nick Johnson will travel (as I said) tomorrow to Jupiter (the town, not the planet) and start in the exhibition game. He'll go three innings in the field, as Manny Acta feels it's more important for him to build stamina there. Hopefully he'll get a couple of at-bats. When I arrived yesterday, I thought Nick had lost even more weight over the month since I had been out to Sacramento to see him. He said he hadn't, that he's at about 235. But I think he's slimmer than he has been at any point in his Nationals career.

Other weight issues: Zimmerman definitely lost some body fat and gained some muscle. When he couldn't swing because of the broken hammate bone in his wrist, "all I could do was run," he said. So he's at about 225, but his arms look bigger -- in a good way. He took Mike O'Connor (remember him?) deep in live BP.

John Patterson will throw another live BP session tomorrow and then be feathered into the rotation, scheduled for Saturday's home game against the Orioles. Tyler Clippard, as reported in earlier post, will be Friday's starter against the Marlins at HSCS.

All right, time to write for the $.35/$.50er. Enjoy the rest of the day.

By Barry Svrluga  |  February 26, 2008; 2:35 PM ET
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Next: Segway-Riding GM


I went to lunch at Subway, where you can have it your way.

Posted by: Jarred | February 26, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Now THERE'S the Barry we know and love. Welcome back!

Posted by: NatsNut | February 26, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

... ah shucks. I brought my lunch to work today from home ... same as every other day :(

... boy the life of a baseball writer (or player) is nothing like blue collar, I'd say. How can I relate??

Go Ryan Zimmerman! Go Nats!!

Posted by: natscan reduxit | February 26, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

May I add a totally secular "AMEN!"


Now THERE'S the Barry we know and love. Welcome back!

Posted by: NatsNut | February 26, 2008 03:03 PM

Posted by: JennX | February 26, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Some food, some nice baseball info, and a wee bit of Jimbo talk. Good post.

Posted by: Bazz | February 26, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

So it sounds as though Craig Heist is recovered after his illness?

Panera. I'm soooo jealous (I had leftovers).

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 26, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Barry - please watch Zimmerman's power this spring. I am very curious about his hamate recovery. Most everything I've read other than his case says it robs you of some power for about a year even though you can play. Zimmerman and the Nats seem to say that will not happen and that he is 100%. That's all you've had to go on until now. It's good he whacked one out, so maybe he is a special case. But you might want to talk to WMP, who had the same surgery, and compare what he says about his recovery to what is happening with Zim.

Posted by: jon | February 26, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Bowden was making fun of your flipflops? The man wears leather pants and rides custom segways and he thinks he's fit to be a fashion critic?

Posted by: mrlogical | February 26, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I know for a fact that Zimmerman is on steroids and hgh

Posted by: Barry Bonds | February 26, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

I soon as I read the Barry Bonds post, my computers lie detector went off.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | February 26, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

First of all, welcome back.

The first thing that popped into my head has already been said by mrlogical: how does Jimmy get to make fun of anybodys fashion sense? Unless you come riding up on a Big Wheels tri-bike (those were awesome), wearing MC Hammer pants and a Grateful Dead tanktop then Jim needs to cool it.

Second, Unsweet tea? C'mon Barry. That may be the only thing that I never get used to for as long as I live in this area. When tea is ordered where I come from they always ask: sweet? or unsweet? Here, and all points north, it's iced tea (always unsweet) or raspberry tea (or peach).

Finally, what seems to have become my motto the past few days: oh the possibilities. Zim's arms got bigger, and now him hitting in a better park with some protection -- where would that shot he hit into the portal off of David Wells end up at the new park....How far away is the parking garage?

Posted by: Corey | February 26, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I, too, am worried about Zim's power post-surgery. And please don't read too much into him hitting one deep in BP. It was, after all, off of Mike O'Connor. My 3 year-old daughter could probably take one deep off of him.

Posted by: e | February 26, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

You're right daddy, I already took O'Connor deep to left field a few times today.

Posted by: 3 year-old daughter | February 26, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Corey is trying to make things up to slander our fair city! Here it's ice tea [sic] or water. The former is, of course, chock full of sugar.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | February 26, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Flip flops? Barry, dude, get with the times... get some Crocs. I'll bet Stan will even sell you some curly "W"s to decorate them with.

Posted by: Twinbrook | February 26, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Welcome back barry,

I too ate at Panera, although it was last night, and it was fantastic. It made me think about baseball and spring and everything that is right in this world.

How did Willy Mo look on pitches away and breaking balls? Is there any chance he'll be able to hit these at some point or is he just going to have to sit fastball and crush it a mile?

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | February 26, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

" No one hit a ball in the air off him "

Oh, oh. You have me worried. Our hitters must be bad.

No, wait. The pitcher was good.

I guess we'll have to wait until March 30 to find out.

Posted by: DC Diehard | February 26, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I just read that there is a huge power outage in Florida, any chance the Nats management/beat reporters were affected at HSCS???

Posted by: natsinthevalley | February 26, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

The power, thankfully, is on here at Space Coast Stadium.

Posted by: Barry Svrluga | February 26, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Here's a nice selection:



Flip flops? Barry, dude, get with the times... get some Crocs. I'll bet Stan will even sell you some curly "W"s to decorate them with.

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 26, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Did someone really suggest that Barry get croc's?

thanks for the laugh

Posted by: Reality | February 26, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Barry -
If you become a croc-wearer, I will become an ex-NJ reader.

Just one reader, I know, but still...

Posted by: Matt | February 26, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Bowden also needs to make trip to the barber shop.

Do men wear Crocs?

Posted by: Section 505/203 | February 26, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

My lord, that was one satisfying post.

As for the tea, I should commend you for finding an unsweetened tea in the south.

One of the pure joys of living up here is not being asked what kind of tea I want when I order it. I had no such luxury in Maryland.

Posted by: John in Mpls | February 26, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

If you want something good and quick to eat, go get a Publix Sub. I know that supermarket sandwiches are typically average at best, but if you have never eaten one at Publix, you have to give it a try. They are fantastic. If I remember correctly from my last spring training trip, there is one a couple of miles from the stadium.

Posted by: Eric | February 26, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

"Do men wear Crocs?

Posted by: Section 505/203"


Mario "Batali often wears a pair of orange Calzuro brand clogs, although these days he tends to be seen wearing Crocs brand. They have become one of his trademarks, with a pair appearing on the back cover of his 2005 cookbook, Molto Italiano and he himself can be seen wearing them in the front cover of his 2006 book Mario Tailgates NASCAR Style. He is currently seen sporting orange Crocs in an ad campaign for his brand new restaurant "B&B" at The Venetian in Las Vegas, Nevada."

I wouldn't wear them out of the house, but they are comfy for cooking in.

Posted by: OldGuy | February 26, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe I did a search for this, and more than that, I can't believe I found it, but here it is:

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 26, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

New post.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 26, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I would think that responses to questions like that could very easily incite sniping... I'll just say that this one most certainly does not. Flip-flops.

Do men wear Crocs?

Posted by: Section 505/203 | February 26, 2008 04:09 PM

Posted by: Matt | February 26, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Having trouble figuring out which games will be broadcast on MASN/MASN2. MASN doesn show them, only lists ESPN games and radio boradcasts. Anyone know where to look for this? I'm interested in Spring Training as well as the regular season. Can;t wit to see Johnson slide & the kids pitch.

Posted by: TV Broadcast | February 26, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

For Jason:
1) How much will the pitching staff miss Schneider? Was he as good as everyone said he was?
2) When Bowden is talking, is there any special technique that you and your teammates use so you don't laugh at him?

Peace and have a great year!


Posted by: Derwink | February 26, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Good one!


2) When Bowden is talking, is there any special technique that you and your teammates use so you don't laugh at him?

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 26, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm in Canada... in the middle of a snow storm. Real men wear crocs here... in the winter... because we can.

Posted by: Croc o **** | February 26, 2008 8:48 PM | Report abuse

I'll be down there starting on the 13th until monday the 17th. Wheres the best palce to have lunch...dinner???

Posted by: Jerry | February 26, 2008 10:43 PM | Report abuse

I was at the game in San Francisco when Mike Basik gave up the home run to Barry Bonds..I had a nice chat with him and Manny Acta the folloing day before the day game there. I was surprised at how easy going they both were. I also chatted with Debbi Taylor there. All in all a nice experience on the road with My Favorite team.

Looking forward to the upcoming season!!!

Posted by: Jerry | February 26, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Zimmerman isn't on steroids is he????!!!!

Posted by: Pete Gaithersburg | February 27, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

kL0OnL U cool ))

Posted by: zxevil160 | March 12, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

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