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Wrapping Up At Roger Dean

There's plenty to say after this one, and I'm pocketing much of it for tomorrow's story. But this game, clearly, was one of the most intriguing of the spring. Almost every Nats' decision-maker made the trip to Roger Dean Stadium, to heck with the four-hour round trip. Acting general manager Mike Rizzo came. Same with team president Stan Kasten and assistant general manager Bob Boone. Primarily, they wanted to see two pitchers: Shawn Hill, and Jordan Zimmermann.

Zimmermann, today, had perhaps his best stuff of the spring. His fastball hit between 90-94; his slider, which he used several times on 3-2 counts, ranged between 83-86. He dropped in a few 77-mph curves. In all: 64 pitches, only 18 balls.

"He doesn't pitch like a young kid," said one scout I spoke with today.

Why?

"Because you can see how he hits the mitt."

Only once all game did Zimmermann shake off catcher Wil Nieves. Basically, he just followed Nieves's lead.

"I shook him off once for the four innings I was out there," Zimmermann said. "He's been in the bigs for a long time, so I trust him a lot. I agreed with all the things he's putting down, except one, he wanted to go fastball and I wanted to go slider, and I shook him and ended up getting a strikeout."

There were even some jokes after this one that Zimmermann's biggest upcoming test will be seeing how he reacts after he allows a run. (In 12-1/3 innings so far this spring, nobody has scored on him.)

"I'm trying," Zimmermann deadpanned. "I gave up two hits in one inning."

"I already know he'll react," pitching coach Randy St. Claire said. "He's got the make-up. It won't bother him. You get that sense from watching him. He got into one jam today where he fell behind. Last week, he didn't quite have the command. ... But he's always very aggressive. You don't get a lot of guys who are like that."

One other follow-up note on Guzman: The toe injury is a result of athlete's foot.

By Chico Harlan  |  March 16, 2009; 6:28 PM ET
 
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Comments

>>>One other follow-up note on Guzman: The toe injury is a result of athlete's foot.

Yuck.

Posted by: p_chuck | March 16, 2009 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Is Zimmermann married? I DO I DO I DO!

Posted by: kfisher32 | March 16, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Is it a serious case of Athlete's Foot? As in, did the toe fall off?

This is not an injury, unless he scratched it to the point of bleeding.

Posted by: Catcher50 | March 16, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Sometimes when one asks for info the result is TMI. Get better, Guze. :-D

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 16, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

> ... But he's always very aggressive. You don't get a lot of guys who are like that."

Music to my ears

Posted by: Brue | March 16, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Guzman had a major issue with his teeth back in 2005 as I recall.....I would think for 8 Million he could get some of season health care advice.

Posted by: JayBeee | March 16, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

my nickname for Jordan Zimmermann is NN, as in double N

Posted by: gengreen17 | March 16, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

That's a wise decision, green17 (http://tinyurl.com/cuhev2).

"One other follow-up note on Guzman: The toe injury is a result of athlete's foot."

Cheeks! That, my friend, is some hard hitting journalism. Way to go.

Posted by: Section138 | March 16, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

>Guzman had a major issue with his teeth back in 2005 as I recall

Ok

Posted by: Brue | March 16, 2009 7:07 PM | Report abuse

The JZimm pitch count discussion is an interesting one. I understand the point about taxing the bullpen, but won't the bullpen be taxed either way? I mean I'd rather have 5-6 innings of pitch-count restricted work from Zimmermann than 5-6 innings of performance-restricted work from Balester, Bergman et al. Either way the bullpen is cleaning up the last 3-4 innings. With Zimmermann, they might more often be protecting a lead.

Also, put me in the "enjoy JayB's posts" group. I don't always agree with him, but for the most part his are not ad hominem rants. His criticisms are usually based on stuff he sees. His observations of Milledge's pre-game routine ring true. It's the type of stuff that drives teammates nuts.

#4

Posted by: db423 | March 16, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

"Guzman had a major issue with his teeth back in 2005 as I recall.....I would think for 8 Million he could get some of season health care advice.

Posted by: JayBeee | March 16, 2009 7:00 PM"

... and correct me if I'm wrong, but last year, it was his thumb, wasn't it?

Posted by: natscanreduxit | March 16, 2009 7:14 PM | Report abuse

... Guze' favourite novel is, of course:

"Things Fall Apart", Chinua Achebe

Posted by: natscanreduxit | March 16, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

"One other follow-up note on Guzman: The toe injury is a result of athlete's foot."


We pray for his fungus and his family.

Posted by: Ted_Striker | March 16, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

>... and correct me if I'm wrong, but last year, it was his thumb, wasn't it?

He was still having trouble with his teeth last year as I recall. Got so bad, he couldn't brush. That's when he decided to get laser eye surgery.

Posted by: Brue | March 16, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Zimmermann with the double "NN" seems like a publicity agent's dream. Head on his shoulders, respectful and talented. However, I might want to correct him on something. Nieves may know what he's doing behind the plate, but it's not because "he's been in the bigs a long time". 131 career games. That's a season for a catcher. 309 ABs -- less than a season. Yes, he did play in 27 games in 2002, but it took 3 years to get back, and last year was the first one he played more than that. Nieves may have an idea what and where to throw, but let's give JZ credit for his stuff.

Posted by: fischy | March 16, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

"We pray for his fungus and his family."

My vote for post o' the day.

Posted by: chime1211 | March 16, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

>Yes, he did play in 27 games in 2002, but it took 3 years to get back, and last year was the first one he played more than that. Nieves may have an idea what and where to throw, but let's give JZ credit for his stuff.

If Nieves was rated only on how he caught, threw and called a game, he'd almost be in the hall of fame. The reason he's only caught 130 games is because he can't hit, not because he can't catch. He's caught over 1,000 games. And that's what a rookie needs. It's all good. You know how certain pitchers have certain preferences at catcher, and you never know what might carry into the season.

Posted by: Brue | March 16, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

>Got so bad, he couldn't brush. That's when he decided to get laser eye surgery.

Waitasec! couldn't brush so you get lasered? What am I missing here? What does the former have to do with the latter?

Posted by: swang30 | March 16, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Note to that:

Zimmerman might even be the reason that Nieves beats out Valentin for #2. If he works well with him and they think it's the best thing for the development of their stud. It's happened before. Nieves is a little bit of magic behind the plate.

Posted by: Brue | March 16, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

He needs to shower in isolation. That stuff is contagious.

Posted by: kfisher32 | March 16, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

>Waitasec! couldn't brush so you get lasered? What am I missing here? What does the former have to do with the latter?

Look, if I had almost 200 hits, I wouldn't be worried about my teeth.

Posted by: Brue | March 16, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, maybe Guzman needs some "fast actin" Tinactin. Get the trainer to run over to the local Vierra CVS and pick up a dozen or so tubes. Don't want the Nats to tell us Guzman is day to day because of foot fungi.
Guzzie please don't scratch your toes with your hands and then touch your privates, that will lead to "Jock Itch" and that just might put you on the 15 day DL.

Media Alert: Rob Dibble is flying from LA to Vierra tonight to do the MASN broadcast. Dibbs please put Carpenter out of his misery, bean him with a basketball.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | March 16, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Making $8M a year, Guzman can afford to bring John Madden in to apply the BOOM! Fast Actin' Tinactin personally. Although the couple of days wait for Madden's bus to roll into town might be problematic...

Posted by: nunof1 | March 16, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

I recall Nieves being good for Lannan at the beginning of last season too.

Posted by: NatsNut | March 16, 2009 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't 2007 the year of Guzzie's thumb?

Posted by: NatsNut | March 16, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

NatsNut,

... I think you're NN2. After I posted, I thought I was wriong about that, but couldn't remember the anatomical anomoly of last year ... but there must have been one.

... BTW, my vote for PotD has got to be:

"He was still having trouble with his teeth last year as I recall. Got so bad, he couldn't brush. That's when he decided to get laser eye surgery."

... I'm still on the floor!

Posted by: natscanreduxit | March 16, 2009 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Time for Rizzo to get out there and scour high school rosters for more Zimmermans

Posted by: LetTeddyWin_com | March 16, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

I think you're NN2.

Posted by: natscanreduxit | March 16, 2009 9:14 PM

*************
Hey! I was here long before this Zimmermann punk. HE should be NN2.

Posted by: NatsNut | March 16, 2009 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Hey Chico, just read your notebook and article. Dude, your tone actually sounded a little positive! And you wrote like you were telling your buddy the highlights of the day. Right (write) on!!

Posted by: NatsNut | March 16, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

You know guys (maybe girls can't tell on the internet) These posts after every article, are some of the best part of reading Nationals Journal. I'm Loving it!

I am SOO looking forward to this season. See you at the park!!!!

Posted by: anyone1 | March 16, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

I thought N2 was for the Reaper. There's only one NatsNut. ;-)

We have a mix of guys and gals on here, anyone1.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 16, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Hey, how come the WBC has fancy GameDay graphics available and ST games still get the funky "live" boxscore?

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2009_03_16_venint_purint_1&mode=gameday

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 16, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

I think Nieves should start the season as the Zimm Cheeser's personal cracker.

Posted by: BobLHead | March 17, 2009 5:53 AM | Report abuse

NatsNut,

... mea culpa. I knew you were and are the first. What happened in my fatigue-filled bleary mind was - I forgot the right. I.e. I forgot to say "I think you're 'right', NN2".

... but of course, you are definitely the one and only NN. J-Zimm is a mere pretender to the throne.

Posted by: natscanreduxit | March 17, 2009 6:58 AM | Report abuse

"We have a mix of guys and gals on here, anyone1.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 16, 2009 10:18 PM"

~~~

... just a short note to explain my use of the word 'guys'. I'm an old hippie from the sixties, and in those days, I (we?) used the words 'man' and 'guy' to refer to anyone of either gender.

... as in "Hey man. What's happenin'?" would have been a universal greeting to anyone, male or female.

... old habits (bad ones?) die hard.

... sorry to offend anyone; will try to be more considerate.

Posted by: natscanreduxit | March 17, 2009 7:02 AM | Report abuse

No offense taken here, natscan.

I was responding to anyone1's "you know guys (maybe girls...)" to affirm for (him?her?) that both were present.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 17, 2009 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Hear hear!

-----

Hey! I was here long before this Zimmermann punk. HE should be NN2.

Posted by: JohninMpls | March 17, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

(wink)

oh. and new post.

Posted by: NatsNut | March 17, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

>... just a short note to explain my use of the word 'guys'. I'm an old hippie from the sixties, and in those days, I (we?) used the words 'man' and 'guy' to refer to anyone of either gender.

Apparently you can call anyone dude now. Even if it's a non-dude.

Posted by: Brue | March 17, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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