The Washington Times - March 15, 2011, 06:19PM

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Ryan Zimmerman and Ivan Rodriguez had every intention of making the trip to Port St. Lucie and playing in the Nationals’ 7:10 game tonight against the Mets.

But Zimmerman felt soreness in his groin area before the team left Viera and did not make the trip. He will be shut down for four or five days. Jerry Hairston Jr. took his place in the lineup.

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Rodriguez did make the trip, was out in the outfield running at Digital Domain Park, and felt pain in his left calf so Jesus Flores was slotted in as the catcher for Tom Gorzelanny’s second start of the spring.

Zim’s got a little something going on in (the groin area) that he feels he needs a couple days off,” Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said. “I’ll probably turn it into four or five just to be precautionary.

Zim is the type of guy, he feels and I agree, that he doesn’t need a lot of spring training at-bats so we’ll be real careful about how we bring him back.”

As for Rodriguez, Riggleman wouldn’t put a timetable on it, though he did say that if it were the regular season, he “definitely” wouldn’t play.

“We hope it’s only a couple days but he obviously made the trip with the intent of starting this game tonight, went out there and ran a little bit and didn’t feel real good,” Riggleman said. “I’m sensitive to that calf because I’ve done it myself. I know I’ve managed players who’ve gone thorugh it and it can get to be something that just doesn’t go away — you’ve got to let it go away.”

Gaudin strong in six-inning minor league game: With the Nationals playing a night game tonight, much of the coaching staff was on hand to see Chad Gaudin’s six-inning start in a minor league game this afternoon.

Gaudin gave up a leadoff walk, after going up 0-2, but settled down to get out of the first inning unscathed. He continued on fairly efficiently, throwing just over 70 pitches and then heading to the bullpen to throw 10 more. Through three innings he had thrown 43 pitches and only nine balls.

“(He was) good, very good,” Riggleman said. “He threw the ball very well. Breaking ball looked good, slider, crisp on his fastball control. He had a nice six innings.”

Pitching coach Steve McCatty, who was also on hand, agreed with Riggleman’s assessment and said he was impressed by Gaudin’s control.

Wang looking for new arm slot: Chien-Ming Wang threw a bullpen session today, in search of an arm slot that he can both pitch from pain free and effectively. It’s an ongoing process, but Riggleman reiterated today that the team is not counting on the right-hander early this season.

“Sometimes you can find an arm slot he doesn’t hurt from, but you can’t pitch effectively from there and vice-versa,” Riggleman said. “He’s just trying to find a spot that he can do both from.”

Here are the updated lineups:

Nationals — first game with no DH
Roger Bernadina RF
Ian Desmond SS
Jerry Hairston Jr. 3B
Adam LaRoche 1B
Michael Morse LF
Rick Ankiel CF
Jesus Flores C
Danny Espinosa 2B
Gorzelanny P

Mets
Jose Reyes SS
Luis Castillo 2B
Angel Pagan CF
David Wright 3B
Jason Bay LF
Ike Davis 1B
Willie Harris RF
Josh Thole C
Chris Young P