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03/12/12 7:30 PM ET

Johnson likes what he saw from Zimmermann

VIERA, Fla. -- Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann made his second spring start in an 8-4 victory over the Cardinals. He pitched 3 2/3 innings and allowed four runs on seven hits. He threw 59 pitches, while 41 of them went for strikes.

Manager Davey Johnson felt Zimmermann had problems locating his pitches.

"I thought his stuff was really good. He didn't locate as good as I've seen him in the past. ... Sometimes, he gets too much of the plate." Johnson said. "I really liked his arm speed, his velocity. His location wasn't quite there. I like what I saw the second time out. ... He was around the plate, just didn't have his great command."

Zimmerman continues to swing hot bat

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman continues to swing a hot bat. On Monday against the Cardinals, Zimmerman went 2-for-3 with a solo home run and two RBIs in an 8-4 victory.

Entering Tuesday's action against the Tigers, Zimmerman is 7-for-12 (.583) with two home runs and five RBIs. Manager Davey Johnson said his third baseman looks like he is in midseason form.

"After I saw him hit three at-bats, I thought he was locked in. He has been locked in ever since," Johnson said. "You talk about leading by example, he is definitely leading by example. Everything he does, his worth ethic, everything."

Zimmerman doesn't think his great start is a big deal. He pointed out that pitchers throw almost nothing but fastballs during the early part of spring. Zimmerman said he didn't see a breaking ball until his third at-bat against the Cardinals. He ended up striking out in that at-bat.

"I've seen all fastballs during the first week and a half. Pitchers don't throw too many breaking balls," Zimmerman said. "If you are in the big leagues, you can hit a fastball. It's good to see some curveballs, some breaking balls.

"Obviously, the next week, week and a half, most pitchers will start throwing all of their pitches. It's good to see more of those [breaking balls] to really get comfortable. I feel good. I'm not going to lie. I'm comfortable. The body feels great. It's good to be getting hits than not getting hits."

Wang slated to face Yanks for first time

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals manager Davey Johnson announced Monday that right-hander Chien-Ming Wang will face his former team, the Yankees, on Thursday at Space Coast Stadium. The game will be played at 1:05 p.m. ET and can be seen on MLB.TV.

It will mark the first time Wang has faced the Yankees after becoming a free agent after the 2009 season. Wang was 55-26 with a 4.16 ERA for New York from 2005-09. His best seasons were 2006 and '07, when he won a combined 38 games.

Wang is expected to throw at least three or four innings and be followed by left-hander John Lannan, who is expected to pitch at least five innings.

Nats not going to rush Harper back to action

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was not in the starting lineup for the fifth day in a row Monday because of a tight left calf.

Manager Davey Johnson reiterated that Harper must have a full workout before he is in the starting lineup. Johnson saw Harper in the trainer's room on Monday morning and said that Harper may have more discomfort than the skipper. Johnson is nursing a hamstring injury.

"But he says he ready," Johnson said about Harper. "I told him, 'If you have a full workout and you run around and there is no pain in there, then, yeah, [you can play].'"

Johnson said missing games will not affect Harper in terms of making the 25-man roster.

"The only thing I don't want to do is rush him and hurt him that way," Johnson said. "I know he is a gifted talent."

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.