JUPITER, Fla. -- In the first inning against the Marlins on Sunday, Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa was hit in the helmet by a pitch thrown by Florida right-hander Ricky Nolasco.
Espinosa went down as manager Jim Riggleman and assistant trainer Mike McGowan came to his assistance. Espinosa was down for about a minute before he went to first base.
"I was more surprised that he got me like that," Espinosa said. "I never had anything like that."
Espinosa would get his own version of revenge in the top of the third inning by making a great backhanded play to throw out Bryan Petersen.
"It was a ball up the middle, backhand," Espinosa said. "I knew Petersen ran well. When I got the ball, I knew I had to get rid of it. I got rid of it as fast as I could."
Wang, Ramirez likely to start season on DL
JUPITER, Fla. -- Nationals manager Jim Riggleman indicated that right-handers Elvin Ramirez and Chien-Ming Wang will not be ready for Opening Day. Both players are experiencing shoulder problems.
Ramirez, who has yet to play in a Spring Training game, will not be throwing the ball for about a week. He came from the Mets in the Rule 5 Draft in December and most likely will start the season on the disabled list with Washington.
"If we can't get him on the mound, we can't evaluate him," Riggleman said. "I don't see him getting on the mound for another week."
2010 Spring Training - Washington Nationals
News & Features
- Gio fires four shutout frames in spring finale
- LaRoche, Espinosa go yard in Nats' win
- Rodriguez likely wins Nationals' final bullpen job
- Worth noting
- Detwiler embraces rest before first start of season
Sights & Sounds
Spring Training Info
As for Wang, he had a first bullpen session on Saturday. It was his first mound appearance since pitching one inning in a Minor League intrasquad game more than a week ago. He pitched one inning Saturday and had to stop throwing because of shoulder stiffness.
"There is no way we can get him ready for Opening Day at this point," Riggleman said. "He is a starting pitcher. There is no way to get him stretched out."
Righty Rodriguez wild in debut
JUPITER, Fla. -- Right-hander Henry Rodriguez struggled in his debut with the Nationals in a 5-1 victory over the Marlins on Sunday. He pitched one-third of an inning, allowed one run and walked three.
Rodriguez's fastball was clocked as high as 97 mph, but that didn't seem to matter to the Marlins.
Rodriguez entered the game in the sixth inning with Washington leading, 5-0. The first hitter he faced was Chris Coghlan, who hit a routine fly ball to left field, but Eury Perez misjudged the ball and let it drop for a double.
After Omar Infante grounded out, that's when the trouble started. Rodriguez walked the next three, including Chris Lubanski, who took a free pass with the base loaded, scoring Coghlan.
Rodriguez, who was acquired from the Athletics in the Josh Willingham trade in December, was relieved after the walk to Lubanski. Manager Jim Riggleman believed Rodriguez was rusty. It didn't help that Rodriguez missed a lot of Spring Training because of visa issues.
"The first ball should have been an out and then he was able to get a ground ball," Riggleman said. 'Theoretically, you could have two outs and nobody on. It might have looked like a different inning, but I think there were signs of rust.
"I'm sure he is not pleased, but I told him I was very pleased with the way the ball was coming out of his hand. He had good velocity, mixed in a couple of decent breaking balls. It's his first outing; we got it out of the way. I think he will be better the next time."
Through interpreter/catcher Jesus Flores, Rodriguez said he wasn't nervous on the mound, but said he needed to improve his mechanics.
"It was the first time I faced batters today," Rodriguez said. "I was opening up my front side. I'm going to work on making adjustments."
Zimmermann's outstanding spring continues
JUPITER, Fla. -- Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann had his best outing of the spring Sunday, pitching five shutout innings, allowing three hits, striking out two and walking one.
For the first time this spring, all of Zimmermann's pitches were working, including his curveball, which had given him problems.
"It was the best outing I had this spring," said Zimmermann, who hasn't allowed a run in 11 spring innings. "I kept the ball down. The curveball was really sharp today. The curveball is getting a lot better. The first couple of starts, it was hit or miss. I had good feel today. Every time I got the call, I knew it was going to be a good sharp, downward bite to it."
Center field up for grabs
JUPITER, Fla. -- With Mike Morse penciled in as the starting left fielder, the Nationals believe that center field is up for grabs. Nyjer Morgan is competing against Rick Ankiel and Roger Bernadina for the job.
Morgan hasn't been able to establish himself at the plate nor with the glove, while Ankiel has played well on defense, but has done little with the bat. Bernadina got off to a fast start, but has been slumping of late.
No matter who wins the job among the three, the Nats most likely will have a platoon situation in center. All three players have not established themselves against left-handed pitching. Jerry Hairston Jr. will most likely get most of the playing time against left-handers.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.