VIERA, Fla. - After sitting out the first two bullpen sessions that he was scheduled to throw because of a side injury, Ross Ohlendorf took to the mound today and got in his first mound work of spring training.
While all the other pitchers in camp had thrown at least one bullpen session this spring coming into today, Ohlendorf had been held out because of what he says was discomfort in his side. The discomfort subsided to the point that he was able to get in some mound work today, although his bullpen session went just eight minutes, while everyone around him threw for 12.
Pitchers build up their bullpen sessions in spring, with the first one lasting eight minutes, then 10, then 12. Because this was Ohlendorf’s first ‘pen, he only threw for eight minutes today, but said he “felt good today” and came out without any issues.
Ryan Zimmerman made an impressive play during the first drill of today’s full-squad workout when he came in to field a bunt up the third base line. The ball hit the lip of the infield grass in front of the plate and bounced upward, causing Zimmerman to field it and spin the opposite way to throw the ball to third base. He leapt into the air as he was spinning and threw while airborne, and delivered a strike to Ian Desmond, covering third base.
The play caused coaches and players to start hooting and hollering. Zimmerman, as you might expect, just trotted back to his position at third base and got ready for the next drill.
Jeff Kobernus also made a couple sharp defensive plays at second base today, including one where he backhanded a ball up the middle and flipped it with his glove to Danny Espinosa at short. Kobernus is listed on the 40-man roster on the Nats’ official website as an outfielder, but he got time strictly at second base today.
Meanwhile, Matt Williams was asked what, if anything particularly impressed him during today’s workout.
“I got a chance to see (Doug) Fister throw again today,” Williams said. “The angle that he creates and everything’s down in the strike zone. The ability to throw all of his pitches for strikes in any given moment, even now, even early, is pretty impressive. He stood out today. What stood out for me today, as well, was (Rafael) Soriano. He was intense in his bullpen and worked on all of his pitches. Again, we monitor him because his innings total isn’t going to be great in spring training, but he was working on it and he’ll be prepared. So it was a good day.”
What makes the 6-foot-8 Fister tough, Williams said, is the downward angle that he throws at, combined with his tough sinker, makes him difficult to square up.
“He’s one of those guys,” Williams said. “He doesn’t light up the radar gun, by any stretch of the imagination, as compared to a lot of guys in baseball these days, but he’s that guy that you walk up there and go, ‘Man, I’m 0-for-4, how did that happen?’And you just keep beating balls into the ground. He’s got the ability to elevate the fastball late and strike you out if he wants to. But I think he just pounds the zone so well that he gets early outs and he keeps the game moving. His tempo is good. All of those things. He’s impressive to me.
“He’s impressive the way he goes about his business. He’s been probably the most impressive as far as the fundamentals have gone, too. I mean, it’s full speed with everything he does. So that’s been a good sight to see, too.”
Here’s your photo gallery from today’s workout: