Nats players get an early start on spring workouts
Zimmermann, Desmond part of group in camp ahead of official report date
VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals pitchers and catchers will officially report to camp on Wednesday, but some players were busy Tuesday morning. Pitchers Jordan Zimmermann, Taylor Jordan, Ross Detwiler, Tanner Roark and Craig Stammen are in camp already and have thrown bullpen sessions.
"Some of them have thrown multiple bullpen [sessions] already. They are going to be ready for the opening day of camp," said new manager Matt Williams, who arrived in Florida on Saturday. "Everybody is eager to get here and get started. Anybody that has been on the East Coast has certainly experienced a terrible winter. That's part of it. You want to get out of that weather right now, but most of all, they are eager to get to camp."
A native of Wisconsin, Zimmermann is happy to work out in the Florida climate. Zimmermann is coming off his best season in the Majors, as the righty led the team with 19 wins and posted a solid 3.25 ERA in 2013.
"It's definitely good to be back. It has been a long, cold winter in Wisconsin," Zimmermann said. "Being down here in this weather is a lot better. I'm finally able to throw outside. It's always nice. I'm excited and ready to get going."
It wasn't just the pitchers working out Tuesday. Williams and defensive coordinator and advance coach Mark Weidemaier threw batting practice to shortstop Ian Desmond and catcher Jhonatan Solano. Both players looked sharp in the batter's box.
Williams and Weidemaier were also working on defensive drills with Desmond, who fielded ground balls while on his knees. Williams said he wants the team to improve defensively.
"My goal is to be the best player I can be. It's not going to stop now," Desmond said. "There are new things the team is trying to implement. They have a vision, and I'm not going to deter them from fulfilling that. I want to get here early, get my family acclimated. ... It helps that Matt and Weids are here. They are able to show me some of the stuff they want to work on. There are no surprises starting from Day 1. I don't want to be shocked when I first get in."
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.