NEW YORK — Nationals right-handed pitcher Jordan Zimmermann will not make his scheduled start this afternoon against the New York Mets because of illness. Instead, Tanner Roark will take the mound in the series finale.
Zimmermann was up all night with a fever, according to manager Matt Williams, and sick to his stomach. He’s receiving “fluids” – unspecified if that was an IV or just Gatorade – and is already headed home to Washington to get some rest. The illness came up over night because Zimmermann felt fine on Wednesday, but was “up all night throwing up”, Williams said.
With Roark starting against the Mets and rookie Taylor Jordan unavailable to pitch because he threw a simulated game on April 1, the Nats will likely go with either Ross Detwiler or Craig Stammen in a spot star if Zimmermann can’t go. Detwiler didn’t appear in either of the first two games. That decision hasn’t yet been made, Williams said.
Roark, who is actually pitching on normal rest now, was told Thursday morning he had a few hours to get ready. An affable sort, Roark looked relaxed in the clubhouse before the game. Reporters aren’t allowed to speak with pitchers on a game day. Approached by one unsuspecting scribe about starting the home opener, Roark just smiled and broke the news. That honor was no longer his.
“His command was really good, all pitches within the strike zone,” Williams said of Roark’s spring training. “He does everything right out there. He throws strikes, goes after guys and works ahead…He doesn’t blow up the radar gun, but he doesn’t have to. He changes speeds and throws strikes.”
In other news, injured Nats pitcher Doug Fister was still scheduled to throw from 60 feet as he works his way back from a strained lat muscle that came on top of the elbow inflammation he experienced during spring training. He is on the 15-day disabled list. Williams goes with his third lineup in three days for the 2-0 Nats.
CF – Denard Span
LF – Bryce Harper
RF – Jayson Werth
1B – Adam LaRoche
3B – Ryan Zimmerman
SS – Ian Desmond
2B – Danny Espinosa
C – Sandy Leon