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Posted at 2:58 PM ET, 02/15/2011

Ryan Zimmerman clears the air on Adam Dunn, talks Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper

By Adam Kilgore

Ryan Zimmerman, one of several Nationals position players who arrived early to Viera, chatted with reporters today for the first time this spring. Right away, he attempted to clarify his stance on the Nationals' allowing Adam Dunn, who signed with the White Sox, to leave in free agency.

Zimmerman feels many people took his comments about Dunn's departure as a swipe at the Nationals. He said today that was not the case, that he was merely expressing frustration at a close friend going elsewhere, nothing more.

zim dunn.jpg

"I never said I wasn't happy with the team," Zimmerman said. "You have friends and teammates that you like to play with. It happens everywhere. I was not by any means saying anything about the club or the organization. I think a lot people thought I was.

"I had talked to Mike [Rizzo] quite a bit. I knew that they had a plan. Obviously, they've done it for the past couple years to get this team in place. I was just expressing more frustration of losing a teammate and a friend than anything. I think a lot of people took it as I was taking a stab at them or talking bad about them, which was completely the opposite."

With that out of the way, Zimmerman could focus on the 2011 Nationals and this spring. When asked about the addition Jayson Werth, Zimmerman used him as an example of how he thinks the Nats have changed. He feels the Nationals, having added Werth and several other veteran pieces, should be more mature and experienced this season than last.

"We have a more veteran team this year," Zimmerman said. "It's going to be a lot more fun, a lot less - not headaches, but, you know, you don't have to worry about anyone but yourself getting ready to play."

For the second straight spring, Zimmerman will get to know the reigning first overall draft pick. Last summer, Zimmerman ducked into a press conference at Nationals Park long enough to slip a jersey over Bryce Harper's shoulder. This spring, at least for part of major league camp, he'll play alongside him.

Having watched Stephen Strasburg handle the attention that came with the first overall designation, Zimmerman has a good understanding of what's to come. Though he still hasn't met Harper beyond those few moments the day of Harper's introduction, he thinks Harper will be able to handle the spotlight.

"I don't even know what you want to call it -- kind of a Strasburgesque kind of thing," Zimmerman said. "Probably not quite as much. I hope he hits .300 wherever he's at and they call him up and he helps us win. It will be fun to watch him and see how he handles it.

"I don't think he'll handle it the wrong way. We expect everyone on our team to handle things the right way and not draw too much attention to themselves, I guess you could say. He's a young kid, and he has everything he could want right not. You got to remember when you were young. I think he's got a pretty good head on his shoulders. I don't think we'll have to worry about him too much."

By Adam Kilgore  | February 15, 2011; 2:58 PM ET
 
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Comments

How many years do we have Strasburg and Harper lined up for until the Yankees get their little mitts on em?

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | February 15, 2011 3:11 PM | Report abuse

skins_fan_22 I'd say that one remains a Nat and the other, oh who cares where the other goes. It would be a pleasant surprise if both stay and with the money the Lerners have I'd almost expect it a good college try.

Posted by: Berndaddy | February 15, 2011 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Spot on gentleman Zim. Tossing with Werth before ST even begins. Those two will be a quality duo.

Posted by: Stu27 | February 15, 2011 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Regarding keeping Strasberg and Harper long-term, it will be interesting to see if the Cardinals can keep Pujols. If the Cardinals can't keep Pujols, I don't see how the Nationals will be able to keep our 2 young future stars.

Posted by: Dougmacintyre | February 15, 2011 3:24 PM | Report abuse

How many years do we have Strasburg and Harper lined up for until the Yankees get their little mitts on em?

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | February 15, 2011 3:11 PM

Oh man, no one's come up with a "they're eventually going to play for the Yankees" zinger before. Good one!!

Posted by: Kev29 | February 15, 2011 3:31 PM | Report abuse

>>Oh man, no one's come up with a "they're eventually going to play for the Yankees" zinger before. Good one!!

Thanks but actually it wasn't a zinger, it was a straight question. Just wondering when we have the pair till.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | February 15, 2011 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | February 15, 2011 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Dont you have a computer. Look it up dummy!

Posted by: Stu27 | February 15, 2011 3:50 PM | Report abuse

>>Dont you have a computer. Look it up dummy!

No need for haters. Boy we have some unhappy peeps here don't we?
Cheer up. As Boz said, Life Begins on Opening Day. Truer words were never spoken.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | February 15, 2011 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Let's get them here first then worry about the Yankees throwing 10s of millions at them. If the Yanks are that interested it must mean they have will have had a positive impact on the hometown Nats.

I am so glad baseball is here, tired of reading & hearing about Fat Albert, dopey Banks and everyone's favorite whipping boy Danny.

Posted by: dph60 | February 15, 2011 3:56 PM | Report abuse

How did the Yankee's do in signing Cliff Lee? Carl Crawford?, any decent starting pitcher this year? Skins Fan, in 5 years when SS is available what makes you think the Yankee's will be in better shape to sign someone then we are? Oh, thats right, glass half empty. No one can forecast the future but I would prefer to enjoy what lays ahead for Nats fans rather then worry about something stupid like who they will sign with years from now.

Also glad to see Zimm's comments. I am not sure if it was this blog or the Insider where another glass half empty guy was going on about Zimm leaving as soon as he could because of Dunn. What a bunch of garbage.

Nationals are not run well yet but we have made some strides and I am excited about the direction we are taking.

Posted by: sjm3091 | February 15, 2011 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Grumpy today Sut27?

I think the answer to skins' question is that assuming the Nats avoid "super 2" status with Harper as they did with SS but that he is in the majors late this year or early next, then he will be under Nats control for 6 years before free agency, as is SS. You could see them together at the end of this season (or not) and for up to the next 4 thereafter.

Posted by: NatsFly | February 15, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Boy we have some unhappy peeps here don't we? Cheer up. As Boz said, Life Begins on Opening Day. Truer words were never spoken.

Certainly thinking about our two budding stars going to the Yankees cheered me up. I don't see how anybody could take it as anything other than a gesture of good fellowship. The answer is, nobody knows the future. That is also the answer to all other questions about how long until somebody goes to the Yankees. And all other "how long" questions not involving periodic physical events or legal deadlines.

Posted by: Arkymark | February 15, 2011 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Just tired of hearing that same jazz from a different trumpet.

Posted by: Stu27 | February 15, 2011 4:35 PM | Report abuse

>>he will be under Nats control for 6 years before free agency, as is SS. You could see them together at the end of this season (or not) and for up to the next 4 thereafter.

Thx NatsFly. That's good news. If we get to watch those 2 together for that long, that could be pretty special.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | February 15, 2011 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Puh-lease everyone...stop the hatin'!! A fair question by Skins fan even if a bit misguided to assume the Yanks will get 'em.

Look at it this way, if we lose either player after their 6th year in majors (Strasburg in 2016, Harper in 2017), it will be a business move that will free up more than $15 million (Strasburg's possible arbitrated final year salary according to very interesting Post article - link below - from last spring.) That kind of available $$ can buy a decent replacement who will want to be here. Of course I can't wait to see what my season tickets will cost as Werth/SS/Harper/Zim contracts mature.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/nationalsjournal/2010/03/why_the_timing_of_strasburgs_m.html

Posted by: 4jhawks | February 15, 2011 5:10 PM | Report abuse

BTW, the richest owner ($2.5B) in MLB owns the Nats, and they seem willing to throw the $ around now.

Posted by: DKSW | February 15, 2011 8:14 PM | Report abuse

skins_fan_22,

Stop acting like a loser.

Posted by: berou | February 15, 2011 9:41 PM | Report abuse

skins_fan_22 is acting fine, a lot of the rest of you are acting like petulant children.

Posted by: spunkydawg1 | February 15, 2011 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Didn't mean to insult your girlfriend, spunkonyourdawg

Posted by: berou | February 16, 2011 1:15 AM | Report abuse

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