There is Gameday audio available for this afternoon's game via MLB.com, but it's the away team's feed and that's the only way to listen as Jordan Zimmermann and the Washington Nationals take on the Atlanta Braves for the first time in 2014 live at 1:05 pm EST from Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium. Zimmermann makes his first Grapefruit League start of the spring coming off a +3.6 fWAR 2013 campaign which saw the 27-year-old, '07 2nd Round pick go (19-9) with a 3.25 ERA, 3.36 FIP, 40 walks (1.69 BB/9) and 161 Ks (6.79 K/9) in 32 starts and a career-high 213 1/3 IP.
This winter, the right-handed veteran of five major league seasons signed a 2-year/$24M deal with Washington which bought out his final two years of arbitration eligibility. Zimmermann said in a recent interview on ESPN980's The Sports Fix that he was glad to get the deal done so he could spend the next two seasons focusing on pitching instead of the oft-rumored long-term deal he and the Nationals have discussed over the last few years and talked about once again this past winter:
"Before the two-year deal we were in discussion, but we didn't find any common ground. And then they threw [out] the idea of a two-year deal and we liked it and felt it was fair for both sides so we got the deal done and now we don't have to worry about it next offseason and can just focus on baseball and none of that other stuff."
As with all the starters the first time through, Zimmermann's expected to throw two innings this afternoon.
Earlier this week, Nationals.com writer Bill Ladson posted a list of the pitchers who are expected to follow Zimmermann on the mound:
The Nationals announced the starting lineup for this afternoon's game earlier this morning:
Of Note: Danny Espinosa gets a start at short after starting at second yesterday. Espinosa's expected to get starts at both positions as he competes for the starting job at second or the utility job on the major league roster. Jose Lobaton, acquired from the Rays this winter, is behind the plate catching Jordan Zimmermann this afternoon.
The Braves brought a mix of veterans and young players with them as they take on the Nationals for the first time this spring:
Today's lineup at WSH (1:05, 680/BRN): Schafer 8 ASimmons 6 Freeman 3 Doumit 2 Johnson 5 Uggla 4 La Stella DH Lipka 9 Constanza 7 Teheran 1
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) March 1, 2014
A few notes from this morning:
Reports out of Space Coast Stadium this morning provided more information about the schedule for the Nationals' pitchers in the next few days. Nats' Manager Matt Williams told reporters Friday afternoon that Doug Fister will make his first start of the spring on Sunday. Now we know when Stephen Strasburg will make his 2014 Grapefruit League debut as well:
#Nats rotation today-Tuesday: Zimmermann, Fister, Detwiler, Strasburg.
— Mark Zuckerman (@ZuckermanCSN) March 1, 2014
Detwiler will start Monday vs. Yankees. Strasburg will start Tuesday. Seems to set up a Strasburg-Gio-Zimmermann-Fister 1-4 to start season
— Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) March 1, 2014
Game time: 1:05 pm EST from Space Coast Stadium. We'll be following along in the comments section below if you're looking for updates... And again, it's MLB.com's Gameday audio if you plan on listening along.