Good morning DoD readers, and welcome to today’s District Daily! The Nationals continued their Grapefruit League schedule yesterday afternoon, defeating the Braves, 9-8, at Space Coast Stadium. They’ll be back at it this afternoon against the Cardinals, so be sure to check back here shortly after the game for our recap and analysis.
In today’s Daily, MLB.com’s Jamal Collier discusses Jordan Zimmermann, who pitched a great game yesterday afternoon in his 2015 Grapefruit League debut. As Collier writes, Zimmermann is fully aware of the expectations on him and on the team this year, and he understands that ultimately a World Series trophy is the only thing that will make this season a success.
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Of course, the stakes are also high for Zimmermann himself as he enters the final year of his contract. The right-hander will likely face free agency next winter, so it’s important for him to have a big year.
Also in today’s Daily, Collier discusses Yunel Escobar‘s health. Escobar, who was has yet to play in a game this spring, has been dealing with stiffness in his back. According to Collier, the Nationals’ new second baseman was going to have the stiffness examined by a team doctor. This morning, the team announced via Twitter that Escobar has a Grade 1 strain in his left oblique and will be shut down for 7-10 days.
While it doesn’t look like the injury is anything severe at this point and Escobar is still on course for Opening Day, it’s important for the Nationals to tread lightly to ensure that his oblique doesn’t get any worse – especially since the team doesn’t have many other viable second base options.
Zimmermann has grasp on what’s ahead this year
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Even this early on in Spring Training, Jordan Zimmermann already has a grasp on how important this season will be for him personally.
He is set to become a free agent at the end of the year, and the Nationals hope he can lead them to the World Series.
“If it’s going to be any year, it’s going to be this year and we all know that,” Zimmermann said after tossing two shutout innings against the Braves on Friday. “We’re all getting ready for a big year.” Read full article here.
Escobar to have back stiffness examined
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Yunel Escobar is scheduled to be examined by a team doctor about the stiffness in his back.
He was scratched from Thursday’s game after feeling sore during batting practice. The Nationals believe it is a result of the extra ground balls he had been fielding after the team’s workout each day in an effort to feel comfortable at second base.
Nationals manager Matt Williams said his level of concern was not high for Escobar yet, and the move was a precaution because Escobar was not scheduled to make the trip for Friday’s game against the Braves. Read full article here.