Jupiter: Taylor Jordan, a 24-year-old, 6'3'' right-hander taken in the 9th Round of the '09 Draft, is one of several Washington Nationals' prospects who has recovered from Tommy John surgery under the team's guidance. Jordan had the procedure in 2011 and split the 2012 campaign between the New York/Penn League's Auburn Doubledays and the Class-A Hagerstown Suns, going (3-7) with a combined 5.13 ERA, 11 walks (1.82 BB/9) and 45 Ks (7.45 K/9) in 15 starts and 54.1 IP. Taylor told Florida Today writer John A. Torres earlier this Spring that his goal this season was to earn a September call-up late this year in what will be his fifth season in the Nationals' system:
"'I want to break camp with the Double-A team and maybe get a September call-up,' [Jordan] smiled. 'Gotta make the Double-A team first but that would be awesome.'"
Jordan was on the mound this afternoon in the Nationals' split squad game against the St. Louis Cardinals in Jupiter, Florida's Roger Dean Stadium. The Nats' prospect showed some signs of nerves, walking two of the first three batters he faced around a single by Cards' infielder Daniel Descalso before giving up a bases-loaded, two-run single by Allen Craig that made it 2-0 St. Louis in the first. Pesky Pete Kozma drove in a run too, but the Nats' defense got an out at third on Kozma's hit and Jordan got Cards' first baseman Matt Adams swinging to end the opening frame with the Nationals trailing 3-0.
Viera: While the Nats' prospect-filled lineup was taking on the Cardinals, the Nationals' Opening Day lineup (- Bryce Harper and his swollen thumb) was in Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium taking on the Atlanta Braves in Grapefruit League action. Ross Detwiler threw 2.0 scoreless vs the Braves in his fourth start of the Spring with the Nats, after he spent some time with Team USA in the WBC. ATL lefty Eric O'Flaherty pitched the first for the Braves before left-hander Daniel Rodriguez took over on the mound in the bottom of the second and got help from a diving Andrelton Simmons at short, who robbed Ian Desmond of a hit and turned a slick 6-4-3 DP for the first two outs of the inning after Adam LaRoche drew a leadoff walk. A Danny Espinosa groundout followed and ended a quick bottom of the second with it still 0-0 in the Nats' Spring home.
Jupiter: The Cards showed Taylor Jordan no mercy. Ryan Jackson and Shane Robinson hit leadoff and one-out doubles, respectively, in the bottom of the second to make it a 4-0 game. A Daniel Descalso double, the third of the inning and the sixth hit of the game, made it 5-0, with Robinson scoring and Cards' outfielder Matt Holliday hit an RBI single to center in the next at bat to bring Descalso around and make it 6-0 Cardinals in the second.
• Viera: After making the diving play and starting a DP on D in the Nats' second, Andrelton Simmons started the third with a double to left over Tyler Moore's head. Two outs later, however, the Braves' shortstop was standing on third with first baseman Chris Johnson on second when Ian Desmond made a leaping catch on a flare toward left off Evan Gattis' bat for the final out of Ross Detwiler's third scoreless inning of work. Wilson Ramos started the home-half of the third with an opposite field home run, his first of the Spring, to make it 1-0 Nats and leave the Nationals' catcher 11 for 31 this Spring as he works his way back from surgery to repair a torn ACL and meniscus. Opening Day catcher? Davey Johnson will do right by Ramos. Denard Span walked with two down in the Nationals' third, then stole second before scoring on an RBI single by Jayson Werth. 2-0 Nats after 3.0.
• Jupiter: Taylor Jordan gave up two singles in the third, putting runners on first and second, but he had the double play grounder he wanted off Cards' starter Jaime Garcia's bat, only to have second baseman Adrian Sanchez commit an error that allowed one run in. 7-0 St. Louis. With a runner breaking for home, Nats' 3B Mike Costanzo threw to catcher Jeff Howell on a grounder to third by Shane Robinson, but Ryan Jackson scored on the play to make it 8-0 Cardinals, ending Taylor Jordan's outing. Right-hander Jeff Mandel took over there and another blown double play made it 9-0 St. Louis before Washington's prospects got out of the third.
The young Nats got on the board in the bottom of the fourth, with Destin Hood singling and scoring on a sac fly by Jimmy Van Ostrand. 9-1 Cards once Jaime Garcia got out of the fourth.
• Viera: Ryan Zimmerman was 1 for 2 today and 14 for 50 this Spring after he took the Braves' left-hander Daniel Rodriguez deep to left field for a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth. Zim's second Grapefruit League home run made it 3-0 Nationals after Ross Detwiler had given up back-to-back one-out singles in the top of the inning before a sac bunt and an Andrelton Simmons groundout ended Det's fourth scoreless frame. Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond took back-to-back walks from Daniel Rodriguez after Zim's blast and a Danny Espinosa double scored LaRoche before Wilson Ramos hit his second home run of the game to straight center for a three-run home run and a 7-0 lead. Make that 8-0 after four when Tyler Moore gets in on the home run action with the third blast off the inning.
• Viera/Jupiter: As Ross Detwiler retired the Braves in order in the fifth for his first clean frame of the afternoon against Atlanta, Nats' right-handed prospect Jeff Mandel completed the B-Nats' first 1-2-3 inning of the day against the Cardinals. 5.0 scoreless, five hits allowed by Detwiler with the Nats up 8-0 on the Braves. 2.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB for Mandel, the 27-year-old '07 19th Round pick. Ryan Zimmerman gave Washington a 9-0 over Atlanta with his second home run of the game in the Nationals' 5th. This time Zim took right-hander Cristhian Martinez deep to right field and out of Space Coast Stadium for an opposite field blast and a nine-run lead. 15 for 51 this Spring for the Nats' third baseman.
• Viera: 26-year-old Spring surprise, Evan Gattis, who found out he made the Braves' Opening Day roster yesterday, was 1 for 3 today and 20 for 56 this Spring with five doubles and six home runs after his solo blast in the sixth broke up Ross Detwiler's shutout. 9-1 Nationals. Atlanta's catcher Gerald Laird took Detwiler deep in the next at bat for back-to-back blasts off the Nats' lefty, who'd thrown 5.0 scoreless up that point. 9-2 Nationals. Braves' infielder Ramiro Pena followed with the third-straight hit off Detwiler, singling to center, and after Jordan Schafer K'd looking for the first out of the sixth, the Nats' starter was lifted in favor of left-hander Zach Duke. Duke got a double play from the first batter he faced and it was 9-2 Nats after five and a half.
• Jupiter/Viera: Nats' minor leaguer, 28-year-old Michael Crotta, a former Pittsburgh Pirate, and 25-year-old 2010 9th Round pick Aaron Barrett, threw a scoreless inning each against the Cardinals to keep it 10-1 St. Louis through seven in the Cards' Spring home. Jaime Garcia came back out and threw a scoreless eighth in his final Grapefruit League outing.
Meanwhile in Viera, Henry Rodriguez took the mound with a seven run lead and walked the first batter he faced, putting Andrelton Simmons on to start the Braves' seventh. Reed Johnson flew to center for out no.1, however, and Chris Johnson K'd looking for out no.2 before Sean Kazmar singled to put two on with two out for Evan Gattis. After Gattis took the second walk of the inning, Braves' outfielder Todd Cunningham grounded out to end the top of the inning. Still 9-2 Nats. [Claps for Henry!!]
• Viera/Jupiter: Moments after Cards' reliever Fernando Salas finished off the B-Nats in Roger Dean Stadium, 10-1 St. Louis, Ryan Zimmerman hit his third home run of the day/game out of Space Coast Stadium. The Nats' third baseman went deep off Braves' left-hander Dusty Hughes for his 3rd home run of the game. 11-2 Nationals. 3 for 4 today for Zimmerman, 16 for 52 on the Spring with three doubles and now four home runs. Quite a day for Zim. Hughes eventually struck out the side. J.C. Romero came on in the top of the eighth and gave up a leadoff single, and after a double play, a two-out walk before he popped up Matt Litka to complete a scoreless frame.
Tyler Moore was 2 for 4 with a double and a home run today after a two-base hit in the Nationals' eighth, but he was stranded at second two outs later when Micah Owings K'd swinging to end the frame. Rafael Soriano took over on the mound for the Nats in the ninth, giving up a one-out walk and a two-out single before a backwards K from Todd Cunningham ended the game.
Nationals 11-2 over Braves.
Cardinals 10-1 over Nationals.