Bill Ladson

Zimmerman looks comfortable at 1B in spring opener

Williams impressed with how Nationals slugger handled himself at new position

Zimmerman looks comfortable at 1B in spring opener

VIERA, Fla. -- In a 5-4 victory over the Mets on Thursday night, Nationals slugger Ryan Zimmerman played first base as if he had manned the position for years.

A third baseman by trade, Zimmerman prevented throwing errors from shortstop Ian Desmond and third baseman Anthony Rendon by scooping up balls in the dirt in the first and second innings, respectively. Manager Matt Williams came away impressed by what he saw from Zimmerman.

"He is still in the stages of having to think about it out there, because it's not natural yet," Williams said. "He looked fine. He has fantastic hands."

Zimmerman was pleased to not have any problems at his new position.

"You can do so many drills, exercises and things like that until you have to go out there and play," he said. "So it's nice to have a few chances. The more I play over there, the more comfortable I will get. I feel fine."

Zimmerman has been taking extra work at first the entire spring in order to get used to the position. There will also be days when he participates in Minor League games and only plays the field.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for 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.