Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann got his work in, a final start against the New York Yankees in an exhibition game before the games count for real on Monday.
The Yankees won the game 4-2 with four runs in the fourth inning. The rally ignited with a Kevin Youkilis solo shot to left field.
Nationals manager Davey Johnson said Zimmermann was happy to just get this one in and get ready for the Miami Marlins, but didn’t think his right-hander felt like himself at the beginning.
“Zimm didn’t feel that great going out there,” Johnson said. “I thought he threw the ball good, he got his little tune-up in. It was a good day to be home, get comfortable and get ready to go. He says the ball feels like a bowling ball. It is kind of to be expected. They are kind of looking ahead.”
Bowling ball? Cause for concern? Not a chance, said Zimmermann.
“I was just joking with him because that is what Gio (Gonzalez) said the other day,” Zimmermann laughed. “I said that before the game, just joking around. I felt fine.”
Zimmermann, despite the fourth inning, was happy to get his last start in before next week, because the days were getting longer and longer in the Sunshine State.
“It is definitely a long spring,” Zimmermann said. “I am glad it is over with and now we have meaningful games. Everyone is healthy and feeling good. We are ready to go.
“It is definitely good to come back here. It was definitely a good showing (by the fans). I wish we had won and had a little bit better outcome. But it is spring training and we will save the wins for the season.”
And detailing his stuff overall, Zimmermann said he felt in rhythm.
“It was good,” Zimmermann said. “Fastball was good and offspeed was good. I just made a few mistakes and they hit a few balls hard. Get those out of the way now.”
Zimmermann worked 3 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits, four runs, one walk and striking out two. He saw some value in getting a start in back home at Nationals Park before the real deal against the Marlins next week, also at home.
“Just getting out there and the atmosphere, throwing off that mound is definitely going to help,” Zimmermann said. “Pitching in a little colder weather than Florida, it was nice to get out there and throw some pitches off that mound.
His first start of the season is expected to be April 4 against the Marlins at Nationals Park.