Big Names, Big Games

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On the day that Davey Johnson officially announced Stephen Strasburg would reprise his 2012 role as the Nationals Opening Day starter, it was the offensive half of Washington’s young power duo who made the in-game headlines. Bryce Harper homered and drove in four on Wednesday as the Nats took down the visiting New York Mets by a count of 8-5.

Jordan Zimmermann rebounded from the worst outing by any National this spring to return to his old self, quietly allowing just a single earned run over 4.2 innings of work while striking out six. Two early unearned runs kept him from factoring in the decision, as he fell victim to a pair of defensive miscues in the first inning. Chad Tracy couldn’t handle a tough backhand hop and Adam LaRoche uncharacteristically had a ball go through his legs, leading to a pair of Mets scores. But Zimmermann settled down to retire the next nine batters, and Washington’s four-run seventh inning proved to be the difference.

Harper and Rendon share the team lead with four home runs apiece.

Harper and Rendon share the team lead with four home runs apiece.

Meanwhile, an hour east-northeast in Kissimmee, a split squad comprised primarily of minor leaguers and non-roster invitees took on the Astros. Fittingly, Harper’s heir to the top Nationals prospect title, Anthony Rendon, was busy matching his team-high home run total. With two outs in the top of the eighth, Rendon sent an 0-2 offering out to the opposite field at spacious Osceola County Stadium – his fourth home run of the spring – to break a 5-5 tie, leading Washington to a 9-7, come-from-behind victory.

On Thursday morning, Washington announced its second round of cuts, trimming seven from the roster, down to 42 players. The most notable name on the list was Rendon, who will head across the fields behind Space Coast Stadium to Minor League camp along with fellow infielders Will Rhymes and Matt Skole, outfielder Eury Perez, catcher Sandy Leon, and pitchers Nathan Karns and Pat McCoy.

While cuts are an inevitable part of every camp, with the roster reduced once more, Nationals fans can anticipate seeing many of the familiar faces getting more playing time moving forward as we creep ever closer to Opening Day.

Here is Thursday’s lineup as the Nationals battle the Astros in Viera, along with a complete list of results to date:

Nationals Lineup:

1. Span CF

2. Werth RF

3. Harper LF

4. Zimmerman DH

5. LaRoche 1B

6. Desmond SS

7. Espinosa 2B

8. Ramos C

9. Lombardozzi 3B

P. Young

Results:

2/23 @ New York (NL) – L, 5-3

2/24 vs. Miami – T, 2-2

2/25 @ New York (NL) – W, 6-4

2/26 @ Atlanta – L, 9-5

2/27 vs. Miami – L, 5-1

2/28 vs. New York (NL) – T, 4-4

3/1 @ Atlanta – W, 6-5

3/2 @ St. Louis – W, 6-2

3/3 vs. St. Louis – W, 7-6

3/5 vs. Houston – W, 7-1

3/6 @ Philadelphia – L, 6-3

3/7 @ Houston – L, 4-2

3/8 vs. Cardinals – L, 16-10

3/9 vs. Marlins – W, 8-7

3/10 @ Detroit – L, 2-1

3/11 vs. Atlanta – L, 7-2

3/13 SS vs. New York (NL) – W, 8-5

3/13 SS @ Houston – W, 9-7

Overall Record: 8-8-2

2 Comments

Any estimate on when Ryan will be ready to play 3B?

He is scheduled to start playing within the week. Teams are only allowed to use the DH for a few more games in Spring Training – once that’s done, he should be back in the field

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