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“He’s the type of guy you don’t have to give too much information to,” Harris said. “The only thing I tell him is to slow down with guys in scoring position because sometimes he gets a little rowdy and wants to make it happen so quick. He’s like his own hitting coach. When he gets into trouble, he knows what he’s doing [wrong].”

If the 2005 first-round pick keeps improving, there’s a big raise in his future. He is arbitration-eligible next season and can become a free agent in 2012, but Washington could buy out those arbitration seasons with a contract extension.

Considering the kind of cash being handed out to his contemporaries (24-year-old Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera agreed to an eight-year, $152 million extension this week), Zimmerman won’t come cheap.

“It’s a good time to be young and have your contract [coming up] in the game. Everybody knows that,” he said. “It’s not good for just the players. The reason there’s so much money is because we have more fans than ever. But if you get caught up in trying to do stuff to make more money, you get away from it being a game and being fun, and that’s what makes you good. [The Nationals] know I don’t want to leave, and it’s a good fit for me. It’s an exciting time.”

That excitement has been spread just about everywhere else this spring. But it should come Zimmerman’s way soon.

“He has the chance to win an MVP, Gold Glove, be an All-Star,” Harris said. “Who knows, this year could be a big year for him.”