Escobar and Zimmerman are playing new positions this year. Escobar has spent most of his career as a shortstop, while Zimmerman is a Gold Glove winner at third base.
"I think they are both really good athletes, athletic, strong, they are both former shortstops, they played on the other side of the diamond," manager Matt Williams said. "Things come fairly natural to them because of the demands of the positions they played before. It's a question of getting them comfortable on the other side of the diamond. We can do it in practice as much as we want. It's going to take some game situations, too."
Then there is second baseman Danny Espinosa, who worked hard at learning his craft while hitting from the right side of the plate. After working out at the Nationals complex, he, too, went back to Space Coast Stadium, where he took swings at the plate. Espinosa is getting his eyes acclimated to breaking balls and sinkers by standing in during bullpen sessions.
"He is taking extra [batting practice] every day," Williams said. "He is standing in on bullpens. He feels good about the process. He feels good about being able to compete. We are working through that process of getting him comfortable. The true test will come in games."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.