The Nationals expect to get not one, but two significant boosts to their lineup Tuesday night, with both Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche likely to return from injuries for the start of a road series in Pittsburgh.
Zimmerman took a full round of batting practice today for the first time since he was sidelined by right shoulder inflammation on April 21 and came away confident he's ready to go.
"I felt good," the third baseman said. "I was hitting like I would in a game."
Zimmerman was actually eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list today, but the Nationals didn't want to risk activating him before seeing how his shoulder responded to the BP session. He'll hit again tomorrow (an off-day for the club) and then travel with his teammates to Pittsburgh.
"If everything continues to feel like it did today, then I'll play Tuesday," he said.
LaRoche, meanwhile, took swings off soft-toss throws today and said he felt no problems in his sore right oblique muscle. Like Zimmerman, he'll take a full round of batting practice tomorrow and believes he'll be able to play Tuesday after missing the last four games.
"Obviously it's up to them," he said, "but I feel like Tuesday's pretty realistic right now."
It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.
It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.
They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training.
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Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.
Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.
Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats.
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We are fortunate enough to live in a world where we can watch a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback (attempt to) hit against a three-time Cy Young pitcher in a Major League Baseball preseason game.
Max Scherzer took less than a minute to strike out Tim Tebow, who was batting cleanup for the Mets in a spring training game Friday. You can watch the whole at-bat here:
It looks like Tebow and Scherzer are starting to develop a pattern - last year’s matchup between the two went down the exact same way.
Tebow was able to redeem himself later in the game with his first hit of the year against Nats prospect Erick Fedde. He will likely begin the season with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he believes Tebow will eventually see some at-bats in the Majors.