Off to a 1-10 start, the Washington Nationals shook things up over the weekend, optioning two players (including Josh Bard, who very nearly earned a job as the Red Sox backup catcher this spring) and designating two others for assignment. Sounds like a desperate response to a hopeless situation, right?
Four pitchers were or will be recalled from Triple-A Syracuse, including – drumroll please – Jordan Zimmermann, the team’s second-round pick (out of Wisconsin-Stevens Point) in the 2007 draft. A 22-year-old righthander who was the only National on Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects list, he entered the season with a career 15-5 record, 2.74 ERA, and 205 strikeouts in 187 innings.
Zimmermann is making his major league debut as we speak against Derek Lowe and the Atlanta Braves. He pitched three scoreless innings before allowing two runs in the fourth when Chipper Jones tripled and Matt Diaz homered. He got out of the inning by striking out fellow phenom Jordan Schafer (ironically, Schafer was directly below Zimmermann on the 2009 list). The score is currently 2-2 in the top of the fifth.
I’m heading down to Baltimore this summer to see the Orioles play the Nationals. Camden Yards was initially the main draw, but I have to say that now, I’m just waiting until we get close enough to start figuring out the rotation. Between Zimmermann and Matt Wieters, it could be a good day.