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Zimmermann impressive but Nationals rally to top Tigers


Zimmermann impressive but Nationals rally to top Tigers


VIERA, Fla. (AP) -- Jordan Zimmermann retired eight of his nine batters in his Detroit debut against his former team, and the Tigers went on to an 8-4 loss to the Washington Nationals on Saturday.

Zimmermann yielded a two-out hit to Pedro Severino in the third inning before being replaced by Bruce Rondon, who gave up a two-run homer to Ben Revere.

Washington right-hander Stephen Strasburg struck out five but gave up the first of Bryan Holaday's two two-run homers in the second inning. Holaday also connected against A.J. Cole and is 6 for 8 with three homers and eight RBIs this spring.

Zimmermann made his major league debut with Washington in 2009 and played for the Nationals for seven seasons before signing a $110 million, five-year contract with Detroit over the winter.

"It's definitely fun getting out there and attacking these guys after all the smack talk," a smiling Zimmermann said. "They said when I moved on they were going to take me deep. It was a good outing."

Among the batters Zimmermann retired Saturday were Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth and Anthony Rendon.

"You know some of these guy's tendencies and obviously, they (tried) to switch it up on me," Zimmermann said.

"(Jayson Werth), I threw him a first-pitch heater. Usually, he takes the first pitch. I figured he might be swinging (so) I threw it for a ball. I threw a slider and he's yelling at me out there, rounding first after he popped up. It was fun."

Prior to taking the mound, Zimmermann got a chance to catch up with Werth, Strasburg and Washington pitchers like Tanner Roark, Aaron Barrett and Gio Gonzalez.

The Strasburg and Zimmermann families are very close, in part because both men have children who are the same age.

"It was strange, but it was good to see him," Strasburg said. "I saw him in the weight room before the game. He's doing well. He likes it over there, so I'm happy for him."


Nationals: Strasburg struck out three in a row at one point and was satisfied with his outing despite giving up the home run to Holaday.

"I kind of struggled throwing in to righties a little bit, kind of yanking them a tad," Strasburg said. "But my curveball felt really good. Fastball away felt really good as well."


Tigers: Anibal Sanchez (right triceps inflammation) threw 25 pitches in a bullpen session in Lakeland. The next step will be to throw another bullpen and perhaps a live batting practice session before appearing in a Grapefruit League game.

Nationals: The team was still waiting for catcher Wilson Ramos to get back to camp after having Lasik surgery done on his eyes.


Tigers: Left-hander Matt Boyd gets the start as Detroit hosts Miami and right-hander Dylan Axelrod.

Nationals: Washington heads to Jupiter to play St. Louis. Blake Treinen starts for the Nationals against Deck McGuire.


Werth went 0 for 2 in his first game of the spring. Werth missed all of spring training last year coming off shoulder surgery.


Nationals manager Dusty Baker said closer Jonathan Papelbon has left the team to take care of a family emergency, but is expected back soon.

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The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful


The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful

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. 


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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Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches


Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches

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.