VIERA, Fla. - Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman took early grounders this morning and declared himself fit enough to play the field in the home half of a pair of split-squad games this afternoon. That one, against Justin Verlander and the Tigers, airs on MASN HD beginning at 1 p.m.; the other game is in Kissimmee against the Astros at the same time.
Zimmerman will hit fifth and man third base.
“Everything feels good,” said Zimmerman, whose appearance as a designated hitter yesterday was his first game action since Monday because of general soreness. “I took three or four days off and I like to take some ground balls before I just go out. But everything felt good.”
Zimmerman admitted that the soreness he was experiencing concerned him. He’s never been one to need a significant number of at-bats during spring training, but he also prefers to play rather than sit.
“Especially when you’ve had surgery or problems in the past,” he said. “But when you play this game long enough, you sort of learn that that stuff happens. You’re nervous at first, but then it’s fine.”
While Zimmerman has been cleared for field duty, manager Matt Williams was missing from Space Coast Stadium this morning. Turns out Williams had some emergency dental work, but he will still manage the home game against Detroit, which will feature the video replay system that will be employed during the regular season by Major League Baseball. The Nationals’ major league staff will be at the home game to get the full replay experience.
Here’s the Nats lineup for the home game against the Tigers:
CF Denard Span
Ss Ian Desmond
RF Jayson Werth
LF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
C Jose Lobaton
2B Jeff Kobernus
RHP Jordan Zimmermann
You’ll notice that the Nats are not using a designated hitter today, with Zimmermann in the nine-hole, the first time this spring a Washington pitcher has hit.
Left-handers Michael Gonzalez, Sammy Solis, Xavier Cedeno and Zach Jackson, and right-handers Blake Treinen and Warner Madrigal are available to follow Zimmermann.
Here’s the Nats lineup for the game against the Astros:
2B Anthony Rendon
SS Danny Espinosa
DH Scott Hairston
1B Tyler Moore
3B Zach Walters
1B Brock Peterson
C Sandy Leon
RF Steven Souza
CF Brian Goodwin
LHP Gio Gonzalez
Triple-A Syracuse manager Billy Gardner Jr. will manage the Nats against the Astros.