The news that Jordan Zimmermann is throwing already - and is ahead of schedule on rehab - is one of those unexpected bits of news that can cause those proverbial visions of sugarplums.
If it really is all about starting pitching - and it's hard to dispute that - the thought that the rotation in September might be (not necessarily in this order) Lannan, Marquis, Strasburg, Zimmermann and Wang-Olsen-Stammen-Martin (pick one) - is really quite pleasant.
JZ's rookie season last year was derailed by Tommy John surgery, a procedure that normally requires 12-18 months of rehabilitation.
Zimmermann threw off a mound recently, and cut loose with a couple of fastballs, something he probably shouldn't have done. He went back to soft toss after that, but showed no ill effects and said he felt pretty good about it.
Though he made only 16 starts for Washington last year, he led the staff with 92 strikeouts and a 3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His 3-5, 4.63, would have been much better with a better ballclub. The promise and potential are quite genuine in Zimmermann's case.
On another note, Jesus Flores has returned to Viera from an extended stay with Dr. James Andrews. He's still not able to throw or swing the bat, but the club is optimistic he'll play this year.
Pudge Rodriguez becomes the de facto starting receiver, and those earlier quotes from management in December labeling him a guy who'd play "70-80 games" are a thing of the past. Watching him in Viera last week, he really does carry himself like a much younger man. He's in great shape, and the way he covers ground backing up first base is something to see.