LaRoche still dealing with sore foot
First baseman plays in intrasquad game, but can't run bases
VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche played in his first game of the spring -- a Minor League intrasquad contest on Wednesday -- and he went hitless in four at-bats, but had two walks.
LaRoche acknowledged that his timing was off at the plate. He didn't hit any line drives, just weak groundballs.
"The timing is not there. That is every spring," LaRoche said. "It takes me a few games, and once you get it, it's nice -- there it is. It takes me a little bit."
While his shoulder is not bothering him, LaRoche could not run the bases because his left foot is still sore, leaving questions about whether he will play his first Grapefruit League game on Saturday against the Mets. LaRoche was hoping to play his first game Wednesday against the Cardinals, but manager Davey Johnson decided to give him a few more days.
"It was good to see some live pitching finally. Hopefully I don't miss much time," LaRoche said. "I was hoping I could play today, but the foot is not doing what it needs to do. But if I can see five or six at-bats, as long as I'm seeing live pitching, I'll be fine. ... I'm getting there."
Zimmermann happy with his breaking ball
VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann made his first start of the spring on Wednesday. He pitched three scoreless innings against the Cardinals, allowed three hits, struck out three and walked one in a 3-3 tie at Space Coast Stadium.
Zimmermann said he had problems locating his fastball, but was able to throw his breaking pitches for strikes.
"It's tough to throw in this wind, but the ones I did throw I thought were pretty good," Zimmermann said.
Unlike last year, Zimmermann will not be on an innings limit. After coming off Tommy John surgery, Zimmerman pitched just 161 1/3 innings in 2011. He is looking forward to pitching 200 innings this season.
"It's going to be a good year knowing that I'm not going to be shut down at 160. I'll be able to throw 200-plus innings," Zimmermann said. "It's definitely a good feeling."
Nats have talked to Astros about Bourgeois
VIERA, Fla. -- The Nationals have inquired about Astros outfielder Jason Bourgeois at least three times since the Winter Meetings, but the two clubs are not close to a deal, according to a baseball source familiar with the two clubs.
Bourgeois would be no more than a stopgap if he became a member of the Nationals. He is coming off his best season, hitting .294 with 31 stolen bases in 2011. Bourgeois can play all three outfield positions and second base.
So far, Nationals manager Davey Johnson has been happy with the outfielders he currently has on his Spring Training roster, saying that Washington has more depth in the outfield than it did a year ago at this time. He pointed out that Roger Bernadina is using the whole field to get base hits, while Rick Ankiel doesn't "look tight" at the plate like he did last year.
Johnson continues to rave about Brett Carroll, who is having a great spring at the plate and on defense.
Another baseball source believes it's no more than 50-50 that the Nationals will get the center fielder they are looking for. The Nats already have a lot of center-field candidates, with Jayson Werth leading the way.
Lannan could be traded by Opening Day
VIERA, Fla. -- A baseball source believes left-hander John Lannan will be traded before Opening Day, but the source also pointed out that general manager Mike Rizzo will not give Lannan away.
The source said he would not be surprised if Lannan was traded for prospects. So far, Lannan is off to a good start, allowing a run in three innings in his one spring start.
Lannan's next outing will be against the Tigers in Lakeland, Fla., on Saturday.
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.