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Dan Haren served up four homers in six innings yesterday.
"Few days?" Ryan Zimmerman said with a smirk yesterday when I asked him that. "Yeah, this is awful. I mean, I don't want to sound like a broken record, but it's pretty hard to get excited to play a game for the seventh week in Melbourne, Fla. We've been down here a while."
Yes, they have. And it's safe to say they are absolutely champing at the bit to get out of Florida, head north and begin this season already.
We probably saw evidence of that yesterday during the Nationals' 8-5 loss to the Marlins in Jupiter. Aside from Bryce Harper's torrid streak at the plate -- 9 for his last 9 with a walk -- and Dan Haren getting his final six innings of the spring in the books, there wasn't a whole lot else that piqued many people's interest at Roger Dean
"He got his work in," manager Davey Johnson said of Haren. "He finished the spring in good shape. He'll be ready to go. I think he ended up with close to 90 pitches, so that was good. Other than that, it was a dog day."
Haren himself wasn't much in a mood to dissect his outing. He served up four homers, including two to Giancarlo Stanton, but he also retired nine in a row at one point.
More than anything, the right-hander was just glad to put an end to his spring.
"I'm ready for the season," Haren said. "It's monotonous for everybody at this point. I would've liked better results, but it's not going to linger. I'm ready. I'm confident."
It was a bit of a hit-or-miss spring for Haren, his first with the Nationals. He pitched well early in camp, struggled through a rough start two weeks ago in which he was plagued with "dead arm," rebounded in his penultimate start, then was beaten around some by Miami in his final tune-up before the regular season.
As far as the 32-year-old hurler is concerned, the only thing he truly needed to accomplish this spring was building up his arm strength and keeping himself healthy after an injury-plagued 2012 in Anaheim. And he did.
"I feel really good," he said. "Coming into the spring here, I was most worried about how I would make it health-wise in spring, because spring is actually a lot more grueling than the regular season, just because of a lot more day games, drills, you're hitting, running, doing first-and-third stuff every day. So I was most worried about that. And I feel really good right now, and I'll get plenty of time between my first start, too. I'm happy. Of course, I'd like to go in with a better feeling, but once the lights turn on, it's a different story."
It'll be a while before the lights turn on for Haren, who isn't scheduled to pitch again until April 5 in Cincinnati. He's not sure what exactly he'll do to stay sharp between now and then, but he isn't worried.
"It's a long, grueling season, so a couple extra days here and there is not bad," he said. "I don't know how we're going to play it, but I just know we're leaving [Florida] soon, which is good."
After seven long weeks of spring training, there isn't a soul inside the Nationals clubhouse who wouldn't agree with that sentiment.