2/11/2013 1:39 P.M. ET
Feeling 'great,' Desmond eager to take next step
By Joey Nowak / MLB.com
VIERA, Fla. -- Like the Nationals, Ian Desmond is entering Spring Training this year with a different set of expectations for himself and from others.
The Washington shortstop, who was named to his first All-Star team last year and received the National League Silver Slugger Award, is heading into camp with a clean bill of health and a new outlook.
In 2012, Desmond fell 24 games short of the standard he set in the previous two seasons -- when he played in 154 -- largely because of an oblique injury that sidelined him shortly after the All-Star break.
"I feel great," Desmond said. "I spent a lot of time working on my core and things like that this offseason. I want to play as many games as I possibly can and be on the field to help my teammates throughout the course of the year. Sitting on the bench for that amount of time last year was not fun, but I think it was a little bit of a learning experience and I gave myself something to build on in the offseason."
As for the team, Desmond acknowledged that last year's NL Division Series loss to the Cardinals still stings a bit, but he believes that the Nats can build off it as a learning experience.
"Just like going 0-for-10, 0-for-20, whatever, you always learn something," he said. "I think we got a little bit of schooling in what it's like to be in the postseason. It is a little different ballgame, heart beating a little more, things like that. It was fun. Losing sucks, but getting that education and that little bit more knowledge of what it's going to be in the future was good."
On a personal level, Desmond said his focus is not so much on individual goals, but what his contribution can bring to the team on a larger scale.
"I think at the end of the year, the numbers will be what they'll be," he said. "The ultimate goal now and in the future for this organization is to win a World Series. That's my goal coming in, and I think that's the rest of the guys' [goals] as well."
Zimmermann, Nats making headway on contract
VIERA, Fla. -- Jordan Zimmermann, the last remaining Nationals player eligible for arbitration, said Monday that the two sides are continuing to work toward a deal in advance of his Feb. 19 hearing date.
Zimmermann assured reporters at the Nats' Spring Training complex that he and the club were seeking a one-year deal, rather than anything long term.
"We've got a few things to work out yet," Zimmermann said. "Nothing long term -- I'll tell you that."
The 26-year-old set career highs in wins (12), ERA (2.94) and innings (195 2/3) last season as a formidable No. 3 in Washington's accomplished rotation. He won nine of his last 11 decisions in 2012, winning six straight from June 27-Aug. 9 and three in a row to end the year.
The right-hander filed for arbitration at $5.8 million, while the Nationals want to pay him $4.6 million. He had said previously that he would be open to a multiyear contract if the team offered "the right deal."
Zimmermann also said the market for other right-handers is only a small factor in what has gone into his thought process.
"A little bit has to do with that," Zimmermann said. "But at the end of the day, it's something we feel is right for myself and my agent, and something that's good for us."
Nationals ink reliever Ohman to Minors deal
VIERA, Fla. -- The Nationals signed 35-year-old left-hander Will Ohman to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training on Monday.
Ohman pitched for the White Sox the last two seasons, going 0-2 with a 6.41 ERA in 32 big league games in 2012. Overall, he's 12-16 with a career 4.28 ERA in 483 appearances spanning 10 seasons.
Ohman has also pitched for the Cubs, Braves, Dodgers, Orioles and Marlins.
The well-traveled veteran gives the Nats, who do not have a wealth of left-handed relievers, depth in the bullpen in addition to lefties Zach Duke and Bill Bray.