Zimmerman sits with mild abdominal strain
Third baseman scratched from game vs. Mets as precaution
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman was scheduled to play against the Mets on Tuesday afternoon, but he was scratched because of a strained abdominal muscle.
The injury is not considered serious, but manager Jim Riggleman didn't want to take a chance of the injury getting worse.
"[Zimmerman] said, 'I can play,'" Riggleman said. "But it's too early in the spring to put him on the bus and bring him down here to play."
Riggleman doesn't believe Zimmerman needs a lot of Spring Training at-bats to get ready for the regular season.
"I don't want him to sit when he needs to be in there, but he is pretty sharp right now, and I'm certainly not going to put him out there with the slightest [injury] going," Riggleman said. "This injury is the type of thing where he would have to play through during the regular season. But there is no need to play through it on March 8."
Zimmerman has played five games this spring and is 5-for-14 (.357) with two home runs and six RBIs.
Solid game puts Morgan back in business
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Center fielder Nyjer Morgan had his best game of the spring on Tuesday afternoon, going 2-for-3 with two walks and two stolen bases during the Nationals' 4-3 victory over the Mets. One of those hits was a bunt single, his first of the season.
It's the kind of performance that Morgan needs if he wants to be a starter. He is competing against Roger Bernadina and Rick Ankiel for the center-field job.
"He was on base four times, and that was the key," manager Jim Riggleman said. "That was a good ballgame for Nyjer."
Morgan was caught stealing after he walked in the first inning. After he entered the dugout, Morgan had a conversation with Riggleman, who told him not to be discouraged that he was thrown out.
2010 Spring Training - Washington Nationals
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Sights & Sounds
Spring Training Info
"I told him, 'You know what? It seems like the catcher throws the ball right on the button.'" Riggleman told Morgan. "Nyjer never gets a break. Nyjer is one of those guys last year where every time he ran, [the catcher was often ready for him]. I just want him to stay positive and realize the catcher made a great throw. That's baseball.
"When Nyjer is out there, [the catcher] puts on his A game. They're trying to stop him from running. He got right back out there, got aggressive, stole second and third the next time. He doesn't have any fear."
Morgan, who had batted 1-for-16 before the game, didn't seem concerned that he was off to a slow start prior to Tuesday's game.
"It's Spring Training," Morgan said. "You know, it's a process. I'm just working on my game. Something kicked in today. I'm trying to get my feel and go from there. I'm feeling a lot better at the plate."
Carr continues to show he belongs
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Nationals right-hander Adam Carr continues to show that he should be in the Major Leagues, pitching two shutout innings and picking up the victory in a 4-3 victory over the Mets on Tuesday.
What impressed manager Jim Riggleman was that Carr is able to go more than one inning. Even Carr said he was pleased that the team gave him the extra inning to preserve the victory.
'It's always a good feeling. I was happy to hear that I could go back out there. It's your job to follow it up," Carr said. I went out and took one [pitch] at a time, and it worked out."
Carr reiterated that he is not thinking about reaching the big leagues. He continues to take things one game at a time.
"I'm not comfortable. I'm still doing my job and taking it one day at a time," Carr said. "I'm throwing the innings that they give me and going from there."
Sprained left ankle continues to limit Brown
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Outfielder Corey Brown is still not ready to play in an exhibition game for the Nationals after spraining his left ankle against the Mets on March 1. There isn't a timetable on when he will return to action.
Brown is able to hit in the batting cage, but he still has problems when it comes to running the bases.
Brown, who was acquired from the Athletics in the Josh Willingham trade, most likely will start the season with Triple-A Syracuse, but could make his Major League debut sometime this year.
Defense on Nationals' agenda
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- One of the reasons the Nationals haven't been able to win many games the last three seasons is because of their below-average defense. So far, little has changed this spring. The Nationals have made 13 errors in eight games.
Manager Jim Riggleman said that he and the coaching staff address the need to improve the defense on a daily basis. The team often has fielding drills before Spring Training games.
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.