Danny Espinosa is congratulated by Kurt Suzuki after homering.
Such as ...
Jordan Zimmermann once again looked mighty sharp on the mound. The right-hander entered this game having not allowed a hit since the very first batter of his previous start, and he didn't allow any today until Andrelton Simmons singled to left in the top of the fourth.
Thus ended a stretch in which Zimmermann recorded 27 outs between allowing hits. Yes, you read that correctly. He essentially threw a no-hitter, spread out among two games.
That, of course, counts for nothing in March. But Zimmermann does believe it means something.
"It means I'm close," he said. "Obviously, it feels good to get outs, and to hit 27 in a row, that means I'm doing something right. I feel good. I'm ready to go. I feel strong and I can't wait for the season."
Zimmermann is due to make one more exhibition start -- Friday against the Yankees at Nationals Park -- and he hopes the conditions for that outing (in a major-league stadium, with a large crowd, against a good lineup) will help transition him into regular-season mode.
"For sure," he said. "Hopefully, there's going to be a lot of people there and I'll get on the game mound and have a regular game for a change. Obviously, it doesn't mean anything. But still, the atmosphere and getting out there is going to be good."
It's probably safe to assume one thing: The wind won't be blowing at Nationals Park like it was at Space Coast Stadium yesterday.
Said Zimmermann: "I felt like I was on a ship out there, blowing around like this." ...
Bryce Harper put to rest any concern about his jammed left thumb. After being scratched from the previous day's lineup, all the kid did was go 3-for-3 with a double and two stolen bases.
Harper admitted the thumb is still a little sore, and he won't know exactly how it feels until he's jammed on another pitch.
"I didn't really feel it [yesterday]," he said. "It's a case of squaring a ball up or getting jammed. If you don't get jammed, you're not going to feel it. If you do, it's going to look like a balloon."
Earlier in the morning, he was toying around with a foam thumb ring that many players use to absorb shock. Harper took batting practice with it, but ditched it come gametime.
"I can't wear it," he said afterward. "I'll wear it during BP and in the on-deck circle. But going to the plate, I don't like the feeling, so I'm not going to use it."
At this point, it's tough to question anything Harper does. He's now hitting .431 for the spring. Opening Day cannot come soon enough for him. ...
Danny Espinosa is quietly ending his spring training on a high note. With a 3-for-3 afternoon that included his first homer of the month, he's now hitting .349 overall.
More importantly, Espinosa is improving as the spring progresses. He's got 10 hits in his last 22 at-bats, and yesterday he flashed some power for the first time after focusing on hitting down on the ball for much of the month.
Espinosa has been confident his power numbers would return as long as he continued to make solid contact with a compact swing, and we may have seen evidence of that yesterday.
Perhaps the best sign of all about Espinosa's progress: He's struck out only once in his last 12 at-bats and only four times over his last 27 at-bats.