Ohlendorf dealing with back spasms, plus more after Nats’ 3-2 loss

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Manager Matt Williams said after tonight’s 3-2 Nationals loss that right-hander Ross Ohlendorf left the game with lower back spasms, which cropped up during the right-hander’s first batter faced this spring.

Making his Grapefruit League debut, Ohlendorf faced just four hitters and didn’t retire any of them before being pulled from the game. He walked off with trainer Lee Kuntz, and after being examined, it was determined that back spasms were the cause of Ohlendorf’s discomfort.

“He’s pretty locked up right now,” Williams said. “We’ll just re-evaluate in the morning. He said he felt it first batter and it got progressively worse. So we’ll see how he’s doing tomorrow.”

Williams said that this injury is separate from the one that Ohlendorf was dealing with earlier in spring, when he missed time due to tightness in his side.

The Nats trailed 2-0 entering the ninth inning tonight, but came back to tie the score on Chris Snyder’s solo homer and Michael A. Taylor’s two-out RBI single. The Braves then won it in the home half of the ninth on Braeden Schlehuber’s walk-off single, which came after Mike Fontenot’s throwing error.

That was one of four errors on the night for the Nats, including one from Tyler Moore when he failed to grab catcher Jose Lobaton’s pickoff throw down to first.

“I think Jose picked everybody in the ballpark off with that one,” Williams said. “Not knowing him, he surprised everybody. He surprised the runner, he surprised Tyler, he surprised everybody. The right fielder. So that’s a nice weapon to have. Those things happen in spring sometimes where he sees something and you’re not used to him as much. Pretty good little pickoff move. Unfortunately, we picked ourselves off on that one.

“It’s one of those deals we’re getting used to him and he’s getting used to us. I wasn’t so concerned about that. The silly mistakes are the ones that you get concerned about. The play in the last inning, certainly. The ball’s coming into the runner, (Fontenot’s) trying to double him off. And ultimately, that’s what beat us. We’ll tighten that up and move on from here, but I was proud of the way they came back tonight and for being shut out all those innings and things not going our way, we scratched and clawed and came back. So that’s a positive sign there.”

Here’s more from Williams’ postgame session with reporters:

On Jordan Zimmermann, who threw three scoreless innings: “I thought he pitched really well, getting out of a tough spot (in the third). More of the same. Commanding the zone with fastball/slider. Threw some good changeups. He was good. Stretched him out a little bit, got a touch over 45 pitches tonight, which was good. As planned. So I think he did really well.”

On Blake Treinen, who threw two scoreless: “Pretty good. Mid-to-upper 90s fastball, good slider behind it. Ball sinks a lot for being that hard. I was impressed. Impressed with his command, the way he went about it. Looked good.”

On Danny Espinosa, who went 1-for-2 with a single, a hit by pitch and a sharp lineout to left off Craig Kimbrel: “Against Kimbrel, he leaned on a ball to left field. Got a base hit. He’s playing really well.”

And here are some quotes from Zimmermann, who was pleased with his second spring outing:

On his outing: “It was good. I think I threw 45, 50 pitches, so the big thing is just throw more pitches and build arm strength up. That’s what we got out of tonight. Threw a lot of good changeups, which is good. Fastball command was good all night. Got a few strikeouts on the fastball, which is definitely good. I was locating with most of the pitches, all the changeups were down, which was good. Overall, it was a good start.”

On mixing in more off-speed stuff: “I don’t know how many I threw, but I threw a handful of sliders and a couple curveballs and seven changeups. I asked Paul at the end of it, I said, ‘I’m gonna need to know that stat, because I know (reporters are) gonna ask me.’ “

On how his changeup has improved within the last year or so: “Last year, I wasn’t staying back as much as I needed to. I was falling forward and trying to throw it and my arm was dragging and that’s why the changeup was always high. This year, I’m sitting back on my back leg a little bit more and letting my arm do all the work. So far, it’s been pretty good.”

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