Ian Desmond fielded a grounder to short and threw to Chad Tracy at first base for the first out of Washington Nationals' starter Jordan Zimmermann's first Grapefruit League outing of 2013 this afternoon in Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium. A 1-1 change to Miami Marlins' outfielder Chris Coghlan caught the attention of Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler, who were calling their first game of the Spring on 106.7 the FAN in D.C., as the Nats' 26-year-old starter has talked often this winter about wanting to feature the pitch as more of a weapon this season. Zimmermann missed with this one, going to a 2-1 count with Coghlan, but got a groundout to second for the second out of the inning and after a line drive to center by Greg Dobbs fell in front of Denard Span for a hit, got another groundout to short by former Nat Austin Kearns to end a 12-pitch scoreless frame. 0-0 in Florida.
Bryce Harper started Grapefruit League action by going 1 for 3 on Saturday, singling in his first Spring at bat against the New York Mets and the Nats' 20-year-old left fielder singled again in his first AB on Sunday, sending a screaming grounder to right field for a two-out hit off Marlins' starter Henderson Alvarez, one of eight players acquired from the Toronto in this winter's mega-trade with the Blue Jays.
An 11-pitch, 1-2-3 second had Jordan Zimmermann at 23 pitches total after two scoreless. Marlins' shortstop Chris Valaika, a 26-year-old, '06 Reds' 3rd Round pick signed as a free agent last November, doubled to right field over Tyler Moore's head for a leadoff hit off Zimmermann in the bottom of the second. A walk to right fielder Bryan Petersen put two on. A sac bunt by Chone Figgins allowed Nats' third base prospect Anthony Rendon to show off his arm, and a groundout to first by Coghlan brought in the Marlins' first run. 1-0 Fish after two and a half. A 20-pitch 3rd had Zimmermann at 43 after 3.0 so he was done for the day:
Left-handed long man Zach Duke replaced Zimmermann in the fourth, throwing a scoreless frame vs the Fish in his own Grapefruit League debut. With rain starting to fall in Florida, Bryce Harper singled to go 2 for 2 in his first two at bats today, this time off 24-year-old Marlins' right-hander Alex Sanabia. 3 for 5 thru two games for Harper. A rain delay followed, sending fans scurrying for cover and holding up play for...
While we wait...
• via Twitter (@AdamKilgoreWP):
A scout passed along some good info on Zimmermann's start. 93-95 mph w/ fastball, 83-84 with change. Good difference. wapo.st/YQGi68— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) February 24, 2013
Post Rain Delay Highlights: After over an hour, (1 hr, 6 minutes) the game resumed with a cast of unknown Marlins on the field in place of the little-known starters. A former National, Jonathan Albaladejo took over for Miami and completed a scoreless fourth in which he managed to hit Chad Tracy, sending the veteran from the game in favor of pinch runner Chris Marrero. Albaladejo threw a scoreless bottom of the fourth. 31-year-old right-hander Yunesky Maya gave up a leadoff single, but got a double play and a swinging K from Marlins' outfielder Bryan Petersen to end a scoreless top of the fifth.
Steve Lombardozzi doubled off Marlins' right-hander Ryan Webb with one down in the Nationals' fifth, and scored one out later when 22-year-old Nats' 2011 1st Round pick Anthony Rendon hit a two-run, opposite field home run to right field to give the Nationals a 2-1 lead over the Fish. Rendon's first Grapefruit League HR, he was 3 for 13 with three doubles last Spring. Chris Marrero stabbed a line drive and turned an unassisted double play to end Yunesky Maya's second scoreless inning of work in the sixth. Maya came back out for the seventh and completed another scoreless frame. 3.0 IP, 1 H, 1 BB for Maya, 30 P, 20 S.
Jeremy Accardo, one of the Non-Roster invitees in camp with the Nationals was able to retire the Fish in the eighth and preserve the Nationals' 2-1 lead in spite of giving up a two-out walk and single that put runners on the corners in the top of the frame.
Drew Storen gave up a leadoff single by Marlins' 21-year-old, 2010 1st Round pick outfielder Christian Yelich. 24-year-old OF/1B Kyle Jensen singled off Storen too, to put runners on 1st/3rd with no outs and an RBI groundout by 25-year-old backstop prospect Jake Jeffries then tied the game at 2-2. BS for Storen in his 2013 ST debut. Cue Twitter outrage... Tanner Roark pitched around a leadoff walk and tossed a scoreless 10th for the Nationals. 23-year-old Marlins' lefty, Cuban-born prospect Raudel Lazo, gave up a one-out single by speedy Nats' prospect Eury Perez. Perez tried to go first-to-third™ on a single by Matt Skole in the next at bat, but go thrown out for out no.2. An error on a grounder to the mound put Skole on third. Carlos Rivero? Fly to center. Ballgame. 2-2 tie.