- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 1, 2009

CARDINALS 9, NATIONALS 2

Neither Daniel Cabrera nor Ross Detwiler’s final pitching lines looked good. Cabrera, though, could still find some positives in his outing. For Detwiler, there were none.

Making his first appearance in a Washington uniform, Cabrera allowed two runs (one earned) and four hits in a two-inning start at Roger Dean Stadium. The tall right-hander, whose career with the Orioles was defined by an inability to find the strike zone, had plenty of reason Saturday to be pleased with his control.

Cabrera didn’t issue a walk, and he threw 22 of his 34 pitches for strikes. That, more than the end result, was what he was happy about afterward.

“That’s what you’re supposed to do in spring training: Try to throw strikes and throw all your pitches,” he said. “That’s what I did today.”

Detwiler, meanwhile, couldn’t find the strike zone to save his life. The young left-hander, the Nationals’ top draft pick in 2007, faced five batters in relief and walked four of them. The other doubled, resulting in a three-run inning and a quick hook from manager Manny Acta.

Detwiler, who grew up outside of St. Louis rooting for the Cardinals, insisted he wasn’t overly nervous pitching to Albert Pujols and Co.

“There’s always going to be some kind of nerves. I didn’t really feel like there was more than normal,” he said. “It was the first time out. I guess sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you start to go up.”

SHOULDER SIDELINES PENA

Outfielder Wily Mo Pena was supposed to be on the traveling squad for Saturday’s game but was scratched because of a strained right shoulder.

The injury flared up in recent days, according to Acta, so Pena underwent an MRI which revealed the strain. Doctors determined he’s better off not swinging a bat for a couple of days.

Pena missed the second half of last season with a tear in his left shoulder, but that injury has healed completely.

- Mark Zuckerman

TEMPERATURE CHECK

UP - Intrigue

No Bowden at game — speculation rampant

DOWN - Throwing strikes

Nats issue eight walks; five of them wind up scoring

UP - Justin Maxwell

Spectacular catch to rob a home run

BY THE NUMBERS

Infinity - ERA for Ross Detwiler this spring after failing to retire any of the five batters he faced Saturday.

TODAY’S WEATHER

Washington: Cloudy, 42 degrees

Viera: Scattered thunderstorms, 70 degrees

THREE-DAY SCHEDULE

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

Monday: Off

Tuesday: vs. Italy (WBC) in Viera, 1 p.m.

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