Balester, Zimmermann split up

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The next phase of the Collin Balester/Jordan Zimmermann competition for a spot in the rotation begins this week. Manny Acta had talked about taking the two off the same day as each one starts to throw more innings. That’s happening starting tonight—Balester will face the Astros tonight, while Zimmerman throws against the Mets tomorrow.

The move is as much for the bullpen as anything else. If both starters go four innings, that doesn’t give the Nationals a whole lot of room to evaluate relievers on the days they pitch.

So once Shawn Hill is ready to go again, the Nationals will presumably roll out a six-man rotation for a little while. Or, maybe they’ll move somebody out of the rotation. We’ll see…

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