Health, Marriage And Sickness
Notes, notes, notes...
* Acting GM Mike Rizzo on the Bard signing: "We figured, liked I said, that we'd never stop trying to improve our club, be it inch-by-inch or step-by-step. We think it's going to be a competitive situation." On the competition with Wil Nieves and Javier Valentin for the back-up job: "There's three guys that are fighting for the back-up catching job... And we've got two weeks to figure out who's the best of the three. We're going to give them equal opportunities to play."
Bard actually arrived at Space Coast earlier today and passed his physical. He will be with the team tomorrow.
* We had a marriage proposal at HSCS today; apparently, somebody took the "H" in that acronym to suggest that history should also mean eternity. With all due respect to love and happiness, this was a bad idea. Microphone in hand, the gentleman popped the question in the second inning, and either his voice or the technology was stammering, because the message never quite got out. You just heard a few key phrases... "Will you be with me forever and make me the world's biggest baseball fan?"
The SCS crowd didn't like his chances. It booed, almost in unison, "Noooo..."
But she said yes.
* Jordan Zimmermann said after his start today (2 IP, 7 H, 5 ER) that "obviously I didn't have my best stuff." He struggled to locate his fastball, and his breaking balls felt a little flat. "I got hit around a little bit today," he said.
Over the last 48 hours, Zimmermann has been battling the flu, but he told pitching coach Randy St. Claire today that he had no problem throwing. That contrasted with Friday, when the team sent him home from workouts in the morning because he'd been up vomiting.
The only positive from this outing?
The team saw a bit of his competitiveness.
"He had a built-in excuse," Acta said, "and he didn't use it."
* How-not-to-run-the-bases 101: In the sixth, Elijah Dukes hit a shot to left, and right off the bat, it had the feel of a home run. That must have been Dukes's feel, too, because he watched. When the wind kept it in the park, Dukes had to scramble -- a kind of oh-god-what-did-I-do move -- and barely made it to second.
* Rough, rough day for the Nats pitchers, including Rule 5er Terrell Young, who walked three and allowed two runs in two-thirds of an inning. The Nats, despite this outing, like Young's raw ability; there's a reason they selected him in the first round of the Rule 5 draft in December, after all. But the question here is more about whether the team can afford to "hide" such a raw prospect in its pen. Keeping Young on the roster would be more like a 6 1/2-person bullpen than a seven-person bullpen. More likely, the Nats will try to work out some sort of trade with the Reds -- Young's old team -- if they want to keep him in the organization. That way, he won't need to be up in the big leagues all year.
* Speaking of Dukes... he started in CF today.
* The attendance was 6,182, largest of the spring. (But not a sellout.)
* For this game, the Nats brought up catcher Derek Norris, ranked by Baseball America as the organization's sixth-best prospect. Last year, with Class A Vermont, Norris hit .278 (.463 SLG) with 10 HR and 38 RBI in 227 at bats.
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