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Bryce Harper rounds the bases after homering in the first inning yesterday.
Yes, we always have to issue the disclaimer about this only being spring training, and you should never read too much into spring training stats. OK, good, now that we have that out of the way, let's read too much into spring training stats!
Here are Harper and Zimmerman's current Grapefruit League batting lines...
Aside from the fact they're not drawing any walks at this point, it's hard not to like those numbers. Plain and simple, both Harper and Zimmerman have been raking at the plate all spring, and neither has shown signs of easing up anytime soon.
"I don't know, I can't hit a changeup right now," Harper said in his typical downplaying fashion, pointing out the one flaw in his swing on March 14. "I'm just trying to stay as patient as I can, trying to get a pitch up in the zone and try to square up as many pitches as I can down here."
The 20-year-old really squared up a Matt Harvey fastball yesterday, launching a three-run homer over the signage beyond the wall in right-center field at Space Coast Stadium for his third homer of the spring. He added an RBI single to left off Mets reliever Bobby Parnell later to cap a 2-for-4 afternoon.
Harper seemingly has been locked-in since the exhibition season began three weeks ago, and he's admittedly anxious for these hits to start counting for real.
"Spring training is long," he said. "I wish [the season] would start pretty soon. But we've got two weeks to work on some things. I've got to try to get better in the outfield and do some things out there and still try to work with Denard [Span] and see how he communicates out there. And I've still got to try to get a few more ABs under my belt. Like I said, it's still March. Guys are getting better. Pitchers are still getting better. I've still got work."
Unlike Harper, Zimmerman probably does still need two more weeks of spring training. Not to get his swing down, but to get some playing time in the field. Brought along slowly this spring following right shoulder surgery, he has yet to appear in a game at third base, serving only as designated hitter to date.
Zimmerman has been participating fully in pregame defensive drills, though, and his throwing motion looks noticeably smoother than it was last season when he played through a sprain of the AC joint.
"Everything's good," he said. "Now it's just a matter of throwing until it feels good. I've just got to have the volume and reps to get it back into shape. And after that, we'll be good to go."
Zimmerman plans to take the field for the first time on Monday, then play in most of the Nationals' remaining exhibition games. Combine that with the games he's already appeared in as DH, and he's confident he'll get enough work in advance of Opening Day.
"I mean, I'll have plenty of at-bats," he said. "I'll probably end up with more at-bats than if I had been playing in the field. But everything's right on time, maybe even ahead of schedule. Because even if I don't come back until the 18th, that's still 10 days of games. I'll be good."
As will the kid hitting in front of Zimmerman in what could be one of the NL's most potent 3-4 combos.