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02/26/09 8:49 PM EST

Balester, Zimmermann shine

Young Nationals right-handers get job done against Tigers

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals right-handers Collin Balester and Jordan Zimmermann are competing for spots in the rotations, and they both got off to a great start in a 2-1 victory over the Tigers on Thursday.

They pitched two shutout innings apiece. Even more impressive, Balester and Zimmermann were able to handle the Tigers' best hitters. Carlos Guillen, Magglio Ordonez, Miguel Cabrera went a combined 0-for-6.

"I felt good today," Balester said. "I want to face the [good players] and see how I'm throwing."

Zimmermann, the Nationals' Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2008, faced Major League hitters for the first time in his professional career. He said he wasn't nervous and it showed. Zimmermann struck out three batters and walked none. He used his fastball, curveball and slider, but didn't throw his changeup.

"It thought I did really well," Zimmermann said. "I went out there and threw strikes. I kept the ball down. Everything worked out good."

In other news, shortstop Cristian Guzman didn't play in the first two games of the spring because he felt he wasn't ready for game action. He is not injured. Guzman will play on Friday against the Astros.

Dmitri Young played his first spring game against the Tigers and had two walks. He missed the first game because of a bruised left ring finger.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.