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Posted at 12:23 PM ET, 03/ 8/2011

Cole Kimball on the rise

By Dave Sheinin

From a pitching standpoint, much of Monday's game, a 14-9 win for the Nationals, was a horror show. The Nationals used six pitchers, and five of them were dinged for multiple hits and at least one earned run. And then there was Cole Kimball, who pitched two dazzling, scoreless frames -- an oasis in a pitching desert.

Kimball, 25, is one of the more intriguing pitchers in camp -- a hard-throwing, late-blooming right-hander who throws in the upper 90s and is just impressive in the way he carries himself like a veteran.

"We've gotten nothing but rave reviews about him throughout the [farm] system," Manager Jim Riggleman said on Tuesday. "Everyone's raving about his makeup, his arm, everything."

In 2010, Kimball began the year pitching middle relief for Class A Potomac (where he also pitched in 2009) and ended it by closing games for Class AA Harrisburg. He will probably get squeezed out of the Nationals' 2011 bullpen simply because he has minor-league options remaining, while other candidates do not. But Riggleman cautioned not to count him out.

"There are some things working against him," Riggleman said. "But that's not to say he couldn't pitch himself onto this team."

A few other notes before today's Nats/Mets tilt:

*Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman was scratched from today's road trip by a mild strain of an abdominal muscle. Riggleman said Zimmerman would have played if it were a regular season game, but there was no point in pushing him in early March.

*Veteran lefty Tom Gorzelanny will make his 2011 Grapefruit League debut in a split-squad game in Kissimmee on Thursday against the Astros. Gorzelanny has been about a week behind the team's other pitchers due to an illness prior to the opening of camp.

*Today's lineup: DH Morgan, SS ian Desmond, 3B Jerry Hairston, LF Mike Morse, C Wilson Ramos, RF Jeff Frazier, CF Rick Ankiel, 1B Chris Marrero, 2B Brian Bixler. RHP Jordan Zimmermann is pitching.

*Finally, I had to come downstairs to the press room at in order to find working wireless -- since it doesn't work in the press box here at "Digital Domain Park." (I think that's what one would call "irony." Maybe it should be called "Analog Domain Park.") In any case, looks like I have to choose between working wireless and watching the game. I'm scoping out the television situation now, to see if I can watch from the press room and still do the live blog. But it's a fluid situation.

By Dave Sheinin  | March 8, 2011; 12:23 PM ET
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Next: Live blog: Nationals at Mets, Port St. Lucie, Fla.


the DH is 1-for-spring? yeesh.

Posted by: Section406 | March 8, 2011 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Digital Domain means you need to keep score by counting on your fingers, toes or whatever else you may have available. Yesterday's game you would have come up short!

Posted by: FeelWood | March 8, 2011 12:35 PM | Report abuse

The things we take for granted these days...we'll be happy with whatever you can do.

I'm rooting for Kimball - I remember seeing his name a lot in the weekly report from the minors last year!

Posted by: PattyinSJ | March 8, 2011 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Let's see...sit inside in Florida at Spring Training and blog, or sit outside and take notes. Hmmmmm...yeah, that's a tough one...

Posted by: joemktg1 | March 8, 2011 12:45 PM | Report abuse

>I'm rooting for Kimball - I remember seeing his name a lot in the weekly report from the minors last year!

Posted by: PattyinSJ

I'm for anybody that can get it up to 98 mph. If he can get a second pitch over for strikes consistently, he won't be long for the minors. Sometimes it takes awhile to have the light go on. And sometimes you end up like Ballester, never really knowing what you're going to get. I mean, all he has to do is trust his stuff and not over or underthrow. You see how when he comes all the way through with his breaking stuff how electric it can be. It ain't as hard as you make it, Colin! Forget about everything and just stare at the mitt and your body will go directly toward it ---mmmm I am hypnotized by the mitt mmmmm go THROUGH the mitt----

Posted by: Brue | March 8, 2011 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Know him somewhat - played other sports with him a few years ago. He is a monster of a man. He was a starter but got hurt. It was not a sports injury per se and he healed up fine. He can throw split and slider for outs. His main problem was wild pitches. Now they are going away and he rocketed up the reliever ladder. He can strike out anyone. His strikeouts per inning have been consistantly over one per inning.

He has the mentality of a closer - every hitter is just a piece of meat. He is a sports junkie. He is even a Redskin fan (even though grew up in NJ)! He is a very respectful person and has taught baseball in the offseason to kids. My real worry is that he gets traded. There are a lot of good minor leagues that are all friends and grew up in the system together. Hope the Nats can keep a few of them together to blend in a good team chemistry.

Posted by: jminadeo | March 8, 2011 11:14 PM | Report abuse

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