Final notes from Kissimmee

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Roger Bernadina has a bruised right big toe after fouling a ball off his foot yesterday.

The Nationals outfielder tried to play through the pain today, but was pulled from this afternoon's game after two and a half innings when the toe started acting up on him.

Bernadina said the toe isn't all that swollen, and manager Davey Johnson expects the 27-year-old back in the lineup on Sunday.

Here's what Jordan Zimmermann had to say about today's outing, in which he went five innings, allowing four runs on eight hits and a walk with three strikeouts:

"I thought it went pretty well. Threw a lot of good changeups today. Fastball command was obviously there, off-speed was good. The hits - you're going to give up hits sometimes. I thought the zone was maybe a little tight, missed a few pitches, but not gonna blame that on that. I made some good pitches and they made some solid contact on a few."

Zimmermann threw 74 pitches today and became just the second Nats starter - joining Stephen Strasburg - to get through a full five innings. He said his arm felt strong even after completing the fifth frame, which is obviously key at this point in spring.

The righty has been working on his changeup this spring and had thrown it sparingly in game action entering today's start. He worked on it a bunch today, and was pleased with the results.

"I don't know how many I threw, but I got a few swings and misses, weak contact, a double-play ground ball and the one that was hit back to me was a changeup," he said. "I threw a lot of them and they were pretty good action and good speed. It's come a long way, so I'm pretty happy with that."

Despite the number of hits allowed, manager Davey Johnson was pleased with what he saw from Zimmermann,

"I really like the way Zim threw the ball," Johnson said. "Results weren't that good, but I think he threw the ball good. Gave me five innings, which is what I wanted to see. Five innings was more important to me than the pitch count. He'll have one more start before the start of the season, but I like the way he's throwing. That's the big thing."

Ian Desmond went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts today, and Ryan Zimmerman and Jesus Flores also had 0-for-3 efforts in the Nats' 5-1 loss to Houston.

In relief of Zimmermann, Tyler Clippard gave up one run in one inning, and Brad Lidge and Craig Stammen each delivered a scoreless frame.

Lidge's spring ERA is down to an impressive 1.80, while Stammen's now sits at 1.86.

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