Kimball pitched well over last summer and then saved the championship game of the Arizona Fall League. That experience helped him for this week and he is thrilled to be in Viera, Fla., now.
“This is awesome for me,” Kimball said. “Arizona was beneficial because I only had one month off so I didn’t have to build back arm strength. I didn’t lose it from that time in the fall league. I really didn’t have to push it too hard in the off season because I maintained my overall strength.”
Kimball worked at the Jack Cust Baseball Academy complex in Flemington, N.J., the last three months and that helped him to stay in baseball shape.
“I had no problem finding throwing partners or someone to catch ” each day, Kimball said.
Obviously, Kimball’s goal is to make the Nationals 25-man for the March 31 season opener. But he makes it even simpler with a clear focus for spring training.
“All I want to do is play my game and help my team win,” Kimball said. “When you start getting wins, your numbers get better anyway.”
Is it that important to win games that don’t count in the standings?
“We should absolutely not lose a game in spring training,” Kimball said. “Not with the team we have. If we face guys who are playing for themselves or just trying to make a team, we should win.”
Kimball has taken the first week to check in with old and new teammates and they all have been very receptive.
“I have met a lot of new teammates and talked with Ross Detwiler, Ryan Mattheus, Adam Carr, and many of the guys I have played with in the past,” Kimball said. “Jason Marquis and John Lannan have been good. A lot of these guys, I have known since 2006. They all know where I have been. They don’t bust me too hard because they know that minor league baseball is a grind. You don’t get the monetary satisfaction you get in the majors. They know how hard I work.”
Kimball is very impressed with the way camp is run by the Nationals in Viera.
“I felt like our team is taking steps to correct things,” Kimball said. “They are making players more comfortable this year. Camp is run more (efficiently). I know it is only my first big league camp, but it really seems everyone involved is completely focused and this camp is really well organized. Coaches have specific plays and scenarios they want us to work on. They are making sure we get our fielding in as pitchers. That is very important.”