|No longer the only Zimmerman(n) in D.C.
After losing Sunday for the 10th time in 11 games, the Nationals removed Saul Rivera, Josh Bard, Steven Shell, and Wilfredo Ledezma from the 25-man roster. Among the four players expected to join the team Monday is top prospect Jordan Zimmermann, who claimed a rotation spot during spring training and has simply been waiting at Triple-A for the Nationals to need a fifth starter.
A second-round pick in 2007, Zimmermann blitzed through the low minors before going 7-2 with a 3.21 ERA and 103/39 K/BB ratio in 107 innings at Double-A as a 22-year-old last season. He has excellent command for someone who doesn't turn 23 years old until May 23, and has the low-90s fastball and solid secondary pitches to eventually develop into a strong No. 2 starter.
However, for all his polish and long-term potential making the jump to the majors after just one Triple-A start and a total of 112 innings above Single-A leaves lots of room for Zimmermann to struggle initially for a Nationals team that can't seem to do anything right so far this season. He's definitely worth a pickup in NL-only leagues, but don't expect much better than a 4.50 ERA in the short term.
While the Nationals spend Monday bringing up Jordan Zimmermann and signing Ryan Zimmerman to a $45 million contract extension, here are some other notes from around baseball …
* While the Nationals waited a couple weeks to call up their top pitching prospect the Tigers didn't delay as long with Rick Porcello, so the 20-year-old right-hander made his second career start Sunday. Porcello picked up his first win by holding the Mariners to one run in seven innings and impressively handed out zero walks while needing just 86 pitches to record 21 outs.
Through two starts he's struck out just seven of 48 batters and he totaled only 72 strikeouts in 125 innings at Single-A, so Porcello clearly isn't ready to miss many bats yet. However, he's also gotten 21 of 36 outs on the ground after posting an excellent ground-ball rate of 64 percent at Single-A, so Porcello doesn't need to rack up strikeouts to have decent success as long as his control remains strong.
* Carl Pavano took his 16.71 ERA into the king of hostile environments Sunday at new Yankee Stadium and naturally held his former teammates to one run over six innings. With a 9.69 ERA and .333 opponent's batting average through three starts Pavano certainly hasn't pitched well, but a 13/4 K/BB ratio is encouraging and he's shown decent velocity with an average fastball at 90 miles per hour.
AL Quick Hits: Thanks to Thursday's off day Josh Beckett won't miss a start after his suspension was reduced from six games to five … Glen Perkins tossed eight innings Sunday for the third time in three starts after completing eight frames just three times in 26 tries last year … B.J. Upton left Sunday's game with a strained quadriceps and Gabe Kapler replaced him in center field … Ramon Santiago knocked in five runs Sunday and should continue to start at shortstop over Adam Everett … Off to a .371/.472/.698 start this year, Adam Jones left Sunday's game with a strained hamstring … After struggling in his first two starts, Jon Lester had nine strikeouts in seven shutout innings Sunday … Kyle Farnsworth served up a Michael Young walk-off blast Sunday, losing for the third time in just five Royals appearances … Matt Wieters has been diagnosed with a mild hamstring strain at Triple-A, which shouldn't impact his call-up timetable.
NL Quick Hits: Randy Johnson won his 296th career game Sunday by combining with Bob Howry and Brian Wilson on a one-hit shutout of Arizona … Matt Kemp homered twice Sunday, including a grand slam, and has hit safely in each of the first 13 games … Brian McCann is still experiencing blurred vision in his left eye, but plans to play Monday … Cody Ross went 3-for-4 with a homer and five RBIs Sunday as the Marlins improved to an MLB-best 11-1 … Max Scherzer made it through just five innings Sunday due to a high pitch count, but held the Giants to one run with six strikeouts … Chipper Jones rejoined the lineup Sunday following four missed games with a bruised left thumb … Felipe Paulino probably earned himself another start by shutting out Cincinnati for six innings Sunday … Raul Ibanez has five homers in 44 at-bats this season after beating the Padres with a walk-off shot Sunday.