- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 17, 2009

NATIONALS CUT 11

JUPITER, Fla. - Washington cut 11 players Monday, trimming their spring roster to 47 as their regulars start to get more playing time.

They sent right-hander Josh Towers, catcher Gustavo Molina, infielders Freddie Bynum and Joel Guzman and outfielder Jorge Padilla to minor league camp. The Nationals optioned right-handed pitchers Tyler Clippard and Marco Estrada to Class AAA Syracuse, as well as outfielders Leonard Davis and Justin Maxwell. They optioned right-handed pitcher Luis Atilano and infielder Ian Desmond to Class AA Harrisburg.

“We need them to get at-bats and get into their routine over there,” manager Manny Acta said. “It’s not doing them any good getting two, four at-bats every three, four days.”

None of the cuts were major surprises, and many of the players will be back in major league camp when the Nationals have an intrasquad game Tuesday. But the group included a couple players who might have been candidates to make the team - most notably Estrada, who pitched out of the bullpen at the end of last year.

NATIONALS 3, MARLINS 1

Washington cruised to a win behind a slate of impressive pitching performances, including Shawn Hill, who struck out two in his second inning of the spring, and Jordan Zimmermann, who notched six strikeouts in four innings. He gave up just two hits, threw 46 of his 64 pitches for strikes and still hasn’t allowed a run all spring.

The Nationals got three hits from Lastings Milledge, hitting in the leadoff spot, and two each from Anderson Hernandez and Corey Patterson.

- Ben Goessling

TEMPERATURE CHECK

Jordan Zimmermann [UP]

Added new level to his dominance, throwing slider for two full-count strikeouts

Shawn Hill [UP]

Pain-free and effective in his second outing of the spring; now he needs to build on it

Wily Mo Pena [DOWN]

1-for-4 with two strikeouts, three left on base; he’s running out of time

OVERHEARD

“For those guys that haven’t seen him, they struggle with that slider. He locked up a couple of good hitters in their lineup today. … That was literally a big league pitch.”

- Manager Manny Acta on the slider Jordan Zimmermann threw for a pair of 3-2 strikeouts

TUESDAY’S WEATHER

Washington: Partly cloudy, 54 degrees

Viera: Partly cloudy, 77 degrees

THREE-DAY SCHEDULE

Tuesday: Off

Wednesday: vs. Marlins in Viera, 7 p.m.

Thursday: vs. Orioles in Viera, 1 p.m.

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