Jordan Zimmermann was perfect for four innings in his third outing as the Nats edged the Yankees, 3-2 to improve to 8-4-1 for the spring.
The 27-year-old “northpaw” needed just 54 pitches to do it, striking out four and inducing five ground balls. Drew Storen followed but was charged with a run on a back-to-back hits — triple, single — with two outs. Washington’s “other” 1st Rd. pick struck out the final batter to end the inning, with all three outs coming by way of the K.
Felipe Rivero gave up the other New York run on a leadoff double and a pair of flyouts that moved the Yankee runner the remaining 180 feet, then rolled a groundout by Mark Teixiera. Journeymen Daniel Stange and Manny Delcarmen both turned in a scoreless inning to preserve the one-run lead.
Wilson Ramos’s RBI groundout in the 1st and Anthony Rendon’s two-run double in the 2nd accounted for the Nats three runs on offense.
As we approach the time when the regulars start sticking around for a third AB (as alluded in the headline, more later), here’s a summary of how the notable minor-leaguers did coming off the bench:
• Zach Walters replaced Rendon at 3B and took a walk in his sole PA
• Steve Souza subbed for Jayson Werth in RF and struck out in his lone AB
• Brian Goodwin followed Scott Hairston in LF but did not bat and had no defensive chances
• Michael Taylor took over CF from Nate McLouth and also kept the batting gloves in the back pocket, but did snare a flyball to end the game
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Bill Ladson of MLB.com is reporting that the second set of cuts will be made after tomorrow afternoon’s games — both on the road, against the Astros and Braves — which is a little bit earlier than last year, but hardly a surprise given that the CW is that the losers in the battles for second base and the No. 5 starter are still very likely to make the 25-man roster via the bench or bullpen, respectively.
As previously written, the Nats have made it awfully clear that a rookie is extremely unlikely to head north with the club by virtue of the trades and veterans that have been brought in to camp. If I’m right, expect Matt Williams to trot out the old standby about playing every day instead of sitting the bench. If I’m wrong, let’s hope that’s not because of further injuries or another trade of MLB spare parts for prospects.