Zimmer gets taste of life in big league dugout

Highly touted prospect notches RBI triple in first Cactus League game

Zimmer gets taste of life in big league dugout

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Bradley Zimmer admitted to coming down with some rookie jitters when he arrived at Goodyear Ballpark on Thursday. Once the highly-touted Indians prospect was on the field, things slowed down and felt more natural for the outfielder.

"Obviously, right when you get here, it's a little bit shocking," Zimmer said. "But I wasn't nervous. I was excited. I had some fun out there."

The 22-year-old Zimmer certainly looked calm against the Reds in Cleveland's 9-3 Cactus League win, during which he connected for an RBI triple that soared into right-center field in the seventh inning. Zimmer was the Indians' top pick in last summer's First-Year Player Draft (21st overall), and he looked the part in the Tribe's victory.

Manager Terry Francona said he will be intrigued to see how Zimmer -- listed as 6-foot-4 and 185 pounds -- develops over the next couple of years.

"It's going to be fun to see what he looks like in another year-and-a-half to two years," Francona said. "He's a lanky kid. You know there's going to be some more muscle put on there. He's a good looking kid. I was every bit as impressed the other day [while watching Zimmer go through drills in Minor League camp]."

After being drafted out of the University of San Francisco, Zimmer posted a .302/.400/.492 slash line in 48 games between Class A (short-season) Mahoning Valley (45 games) and Class A (low) Lake County (three games) last season in Cleveland's system. In 179 at-bats between the two affiliates, Zimmer collected six home runs, 12 stolen bases, 20 extra-base hits, 21 walks, 32 RBIs and 36 runs scored.

Zimmer ended the first Cactus League game of his career with one walk, one run, one RBI and the triple. The young center fielder enjoyed having the opportunity to spend a day around the big league club.

"It was awesome. It's just a taste of what it's like being in the Major Leagues," Zimmer said. "It was a cool experience getting to hang out in the dugout and meet some of the big leaguers. I just kind of picked their brain. I had a great time up here."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.