by Craig Heist

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (CBSDC) — Jordan Zimmermann geared up for the season by throwing five innings of shutout ball, striking out four while throwing 71 pitches in his final spring training tune-up as the Nationals shutout the Mets 4-0 on Thursday.

Zimmermann gave up two hits to start the game on back-to-back singles by Eric Young Jr. and Daniel Murphy but then got the next three hitters in order including a strikeout of Curtis Granderson.

Zimmermann finished the spring with a 0.50 ERA in 18 innings and he declared himself ready for the season.

“I felt like I did what I needed to do to get ready for the season,” Zimmermann said. “The ball is coming out good right now and I have good feel on all the pitches and I’m healthy so I’m ready to go.”

Zimmermann, who won 19 games last year and he is looking for the club to rebound from a disappointing 2013 when there were such high expectations after a playoff appearance the year before.

“We got a world of talent in here and on paper we’re pretty good but you still have to go out there and play the games. Last year, we weren’t able to do that so hopefully it’s a different story this year

Fister suffers set back

Nationals starter Doug Fister left after the first inning of his Minor League start with a right lat strain.

He had missed three weeks because of right elbow inflammation and he was trying to build arm strength and pitch count coming off his last start against the Marlins where he did not allow a run in 3 2/3 innings.

Fister was scheduled to throw 60 pitches today and the have one more Minor League start before his first scheduled regular season start on April 6.

“It certainly is a setback,” said manager Matt Williams. “As to how long this will sideline Fister, Willams says it is a wait and process.

“We’ll have to wait until tomorrow and see how he feels and what the doctor says. All we know is that he couldn’t make it through his start today so we will see where we’re at tomorrow.”

This likely means both Tanner Roark and Taylor Jordan, who were vying for the fifth starter spot in the rotation, will likely make the Nationals Opening Day roster.

Both Roark and Jordan pitched well this spring. Roark was 1-0 with 3.29 ERA in 13 2/3 innings while Jordan finished the spring with a record of 2-2 with an ERA of 3.92 in 20 2/3.

Follow Craig Heist on Twitter for more from Spring Training.


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