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Hill, Zimmermann

Mid-game update. Shawn Hill felt good. Jordan Zimmermann is looking real good. (Again.)

To stay current, here's the Zimmermann update first. Through 3-2/3 innings so far, he's struck out six and allowed just two hits. Gutsy stuff, too. He used a full-count breaking ball to end the second inning with a strikeout. He got out of a first-and-third jam in the fourth. Here in the fifth, he's struck out the first two looking.

So far this spring, Zimmermann has yet to allow a run. And he has yet to give the Nationals a single reason he shouldn't be in the rotation they take into April. In fact, I'd imagine he's entitled himself to a little comfort zone by now. Even if he has a shaky start sometime in the next weeks, he's already shown enough. Sure, he's facing spring training lineups. He has yet to face many hitters the second and third time through the lineup. So you have to wonder how big leaguers will adjust to him, and how he'll adapt on the fly. But those are part of any pitcher's development -- and wait, Zimmermann just retired the final batter of the fifth on a lazy fly to CF. Four innings, no runs.

Now, for Hill...

He was optimistic about his performance this afternoon, saying he felt no discomfort whatsoever in his forearm or elbow. "No complaints at all," Hill said. "There's zero discomfort now. Will it be perfectly fine tomorrow? I don't know. But right now I'm not concerned about it."

Hill said he's noticed an improvement even from his previous start this spring. Before that game, he needed an abnormally long time to get loose in the bullpen beforehand.

"And I'm still doing that routine right now," Hill explained. "But it's more just to be careful. I had to throw a lot before in order to get it loose. Today, the last couple days, I've been throwing a lot of long toss and it's been nice and easy, no restrictions. So something has changed. I don't know what it is. But something has changed for the better."

Oh, and the game. The Nats lead right now 3-0. They already have nine hits. Four of those came in succession in the top of the third, when the team broke open for its first two runs. Alex Cintron doubled, and was knocked in on a line-drive single from Kory Casto. Austin Kearns and Corey Patterson followed with hard singles on the ground to left, bringing home Casto.

Cintron, it should be noted, entered the game after the first as a replacement for SS Cristian Guzman, who sustained a cut on his left little toe.

By Chico Harlan  |  March 16, 2009; 2:32 PM ET
 
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Next: Nationals 3, Marlins 1

Comments

Thank goodness we have that new training staff in place this year. A cut little toe would've resulted in a 15 day DL stint last year.

/Wonders how on earth one cuts their left little toe in a baseball game, though.

Posted by: Section138 | March 16, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

seriously. Chico you HAVE to dig on that one and tell us what the story really is.

Cut left pinky toe? C'mon.

Posted by: NatsNut | March 16, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

So NN (who no doubt has a No-No in his future) appears destined for the big league rotation. I wonder if they would consider pairing him with Nieves as his own personal cracker?

Posted by: BobLHead | March 16, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Guzman wore the cleats on the inside of his shoe today. Rookie mistake that he shouldn't make anymore.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | March 16, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Lastings is 3 for 4 today. We should talk about him more often.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | March 16, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I think I'm going to win this spring's GTR.

Posted by: NatsNut | March 16, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Don't be too quick to judge 138. Last year Guzman would've been day to day for a week and a half before being retroactively put on the DL.

Posted by: lowcountry | March 16, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Yes… excited that JZimm is throwing well.

JayBee:

Here’s the thing about your plan for putting Eckstein and Saint in charge of minor league instruction. You have to ask yourself the following questions anytime you are putting together an educational plan:

1. Where do you put your best teachers? Should it be with the major league or the A ball guys? In the best world, you’d give the best instruction at the lower levels, bring guys along slowly. You could figure that by the time they got to the big leagues only minor adjustments would be needed, and that mature ballplayers could self-coach a bit. However, market pressures dictate that guys get rushed along to get the most out them before they become free agents. Moreover, it’s much more prestigious and lucrative for a coach to be at the big league level, even though he’d be doing better and more important teaching with the younger players.

2. Are good teachers necessarily the best administrators? Just because Eckstein and Saint can teach players to hit and pitch doesn’t mean they can supervise others who do. Can they manage peers? Are they willing to fire people, etc?

3. Does people have enough time to both teach and administrate? I doubt that they could give the Nats’ big leaguers enough time if they are worried about what some coach is doing on the minor league level also. If you put them in charge of the entire organization’s instruction, then you probably lose them as the big league hitting and pitching coach.

I think that we better hope the farm director and minor league field coordinator are good. If they are, they might be getting some input from the big league guys. Moreover, Rizzo should be providing direction on an overall organizational philosophy.

#4

Posted by: db423 | March 16, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

....and that's it for NN. Hinckley in now.

I stand corrected, lowcountry.

Posted by: Section138 | March 16, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Zimmermann was so sharp today that Guzman cut his toe booting a grounder.

Posted by: BobLHead | March 16, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Bonifacio reached on an error and scored on a double by Coghlan; Hinckley allows just that unearned run in his inning. Gee, it would be nice to see the bullpen hold a lead.

Posted by: BobLHead | March 16, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Heyman does it again and again and again...

"There's still some question as to whether Freddy Garcia will be ready at the start of the year after 2008 shoulder surgery, while Tim Redding, who looked like a solid pickup at the time, came to camp with a sore shoulder and 20 pounds overweight. Redding has been shut down and is out of the running entirely, upsetting Mets higher-ups, since that $2.25 million could have been used elsewhere."

"Well, the U.S. did beat the Netherlands 9-3 on Sunday night. But hardly anyone came to see the game (the crowd looked only slightly better than Marlins vs. Nats). And those who did didn't seem to notice."

"Case in point: Rather than have Brad Lidge, Joe Nathan or Papelbon on the roster, there's a reliever from the Nationals (Joel Hanrahan) and one who was designated for assignment last year (LaTroy Hawkins)."

"Dominican outfielder Jose Guillen threw a fit after seeing his room at the hotel in Puerto Rico and noticing that there was just a couch, TV and desk. That disappointment caused Guillen to kick his keys at an MLB official in disgust. However, he felt slightly better when it was explained to him that he needed to open a door to what was actually a suite."

Posted by: dclifer | March 16, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

A bit more on Julian Tavarez's ambitions as a kid:

A Gordon Edes blog entry:
http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/extras/extra_bases/2007/05/tavarezthe_x_ra.html

And here is the SoSH wiki entry, which refers to his thoughts about his other career. Also discusses his preferences for women (again, the mention of high weight being a plus):
http://sonsofsamhorn.net/wiki/index.php/Julian_Tavarez

If he makes the team, he will be the single craziest Nat since '05. That makes for a good poll - who is the daffiest Nat since the Expos became the Nats?

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | March 16, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Am I reading the box score correctly? Did Bonafacio reach base on a strike-out/wild pitch then score on a double by Coghlan. Hinckley is jinxed. For a one hit, one run inning?

Posted by: MBUSA | March 16, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

dclifer....that Jose Guillen bit is LOLF. I can just see that happening with him...ROFLMAO

Posted by: cokedispatch | March 16, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

JCA, craziest Nat has gotta be Robert Fick.

Posted by: Traveler8 | March 16, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

"If he makes the team, he will be the single craziest Nat since '05."

Every team can use a little crazy. I'm rooting for him.

Posted by: skippy1999 | March 16, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

#4 - I think JayBee's idea is that organizations do best with a common hitting and pitching philosophy and plan up and down the organization, and that he'd like to see that sort of philosophy take its cues from the Saint and Eckstein (needs a nickname). Not so much an administrative task, but a common philosophy. I think some of that comes from having a set front office who populates the organization with like philosophies of player development and clear targets at every level. John Farrell has this expanded role with my other team, but he has clear admin skills from his front office experience.

Given Eckstein's reliance on his memory for his teaching skills and that he's not been in the majors until late last year, he may not be the guy for that role, but the Saint is pretty well established and has seen enough of the prospects in the organization that it seems like an add on that could work.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | March 16, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

... although I have always preferred J-Zimm, how about Jordanzola, K-reeper, Cheese Slicer, WisconZimm, Zimm-ental, Parmesann, Moundzerella, Moundster, ERAdam, or finally “is this a cheese chop”

Posted by: natscanreduxit | March 16, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Wait, Towers is pitching now? Didn't we send him to minor league camp?

Posted by: BobLHead | March 16, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

How about N2? I would do N squared but I can not do the superscript on this keyboard. Then if he wins it would be W=Nsquared.
If Nieves catches then the entire battery can be summed up as N3.

Posted by: driley | March 16, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Bob - Sending someone to the minor league camp does not preclude them from bringing them on road trips. It could be that he heads to the minor league side after the game.

I recall a game from a couple of years ago where the Nationals used a couple guys from the minor league side later in the game. The roster rules are pretty lax in the spring.

Posted by: Brian_ | March 16, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Anyone notice "Benda-Knee" has three hits today?

Also looks like the "Austin" is finally getting it, the guy is batting .357

As I see it: Lannen, Olsen, Caberra, *Hill, Zimmermann

*extended Spring Training, rehab stint in A Potomac, AA Harrisburg rejoins team in early May. Your pick for #4 amongst retreads and wanna'bees.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | March 16, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Looks like we go to the bottom of the 9th. Who will try to close today?

Posted by: kevincostello | March 16, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I noticed, and was pleased.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | March 16, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

If he makes the team, he will be the single craziest Nat since '05. That makes for a good poll - who is the daffiest Nat since the Expos became the Nats?

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | March 16, 2009 3:06 PM
___________________________________________________________


Joey Eischen was pretty crazy and funny.

Posted by: Section505203 | March 16, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

jca:

It's interesting. I'm not sure that a team does itself any favors by having an organizational view of how to hit and pitch. Yes there are certain basic fundamentals that every pitcher and hitter must master in order to avoid injury and be successful. I'm just not sure you teach Anderson Hernandez and Ryan Zimmerman the exact same approach to hitting - both mental and physical. The same could be said for each pitcher - different arm angles, different ways to push or pull off the rubber, etc. Part of good coaching is being present and seeing what each guy needs. I suppose that's an organizational philosophy in and of itself. I'd just be leery of the Nats developing a "cookie cutter" approach to instruction.

#4

Posted by: db423 | March 16, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

AK also has two BBs today. Plate discipline - how refreshing.

Posted by: lowcountry | March 16, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

To somewhat echo a question in an earlier thread, who is Z-mann pitching AGAINST?? Is it kids who wanna make the opposing team's roster, or grizzled vets working their way back into game shape?

Posted by: Juan-John | March 16, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Goofiest Nat to date = Eischen, Fick, Majewski.
Stone-cold Craziest Nat to date = Jose' Guillen.

Posted by: BinM | March 16, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad "Cheese" is catching on. Seems like a good name for a pitcher, especially from Wisconsin.

Of course, no matter how hard I try, it just doesn't look like anyone's going to start using my other nickname suggestion, "Diamond" Ian Desmond.

Not that I'll stop suggesting it...

Posted by: JohninMpls | March 16, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I think N2 might be less confusing, driley.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 16, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Just use it anyway, JiM. That's what I intend to do with Git R Dunn. :-D

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 16, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

>Lastings is 3 for 4 today. We should talk about him more often.

I think there's some truth to that. He likes the attention.

Posted by: Brue | March 16, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

>Hinckley allows just that unearned run in his inning. Gee, it would be nice to see the bullpen hold a lead.

None of these games count. Not even a little. It's good that Hinckley is buckling down right about now. He'll probably make the club. He's a lefty. He'll be alright once he starts throwing strikes.

Posted by: Brue | March 16, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

>"Diamond" Ian Desmond

How about Ian Desmond Howard?

Posted by: Brue | March 16, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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