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Spring Training 2013: Washington Nationals vs St. Louis Cardinals - Grapefruit League GameThread

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Washington Nationals' right-hander Jordan Zimmermann makes his third start of the Spring this afternoon at home in Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium, where the 26-year-old, '07 2nd Round pick will take on the St. Louis Cardinals in Grapefruit League action.

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In two starts so far this Spring, 26-year-old Washington Nationals' '07 2nd Round pick Jordan Zimmermann has given up seven hits, a walk and two earned runs over 6.0 IP in which he's struck out five batters. The right-hander makes his third Grapefruit League start this afternoon, this time against the St. Louis Cardinals. The game is being broadcast live on MASN this afternoon, so you can watch Zimmermann vs the Cards for the first time time since Game 4 of last October's NLDS, when he came on in relief and dominated hitters. The Nats have something close to their expected Opening Day lineup going against the Cards today. At some point after Jordan Zimmermann is done, the Nationals will send Henry Rodriguez out to the mound for the first time this Spring.

The Nats' hard-throwing 26-year-old right-handed reliever has been working his way back from surgery on his elbow which ended his 2012 campaign in late July. Rodriguez has thrown live bullpens already this Spring, but today he's scheduled to throw in a game for the first time. Davey Johnson was impressed with Rodriguez last year, telling reporters that the Venezuelan-born reliever had the best command of any of the pitchers in camp with the Nats. The Nats' 70-year-old skipper told reporters this morning, including MASN's Dan Kolko, that the final spot in the 2013 bullpen is Rodriguez's to lose:

"He's got great stuff, and if he's healthy ... he pitched last year with some discomfort but before he got the discomfort, he was lights out. So his situation is just going slow with him, making sure he's ready to go."

Rodriguez reportedly pitched with significant pain before admitting there was an issue with his elbow. Can he come back healthy this year and pitch more like the right hander who saved five games last April, posting a 2.00 ERA in 9.0 IP in which he walked six and K'd 12. Will the Cards be ducking out of the way of a wild Henry Rodriguez's fastball, or trying to catch up to his high 90's heat? Will the Cardinals allow Rodriguez to walk them or will Rodriguez's brutal slider have the Cards' hitters' knees buckling? You'll have to tune in to find out. 1:05 pm EST on MASN this afternoon if you're able to watch. We'll be following along here.

Here's the Nationals' starting lineup, via @NationalsPR on Twitter: