Bill Ladson

Zimmermann getting stronger with each start

Righty avoids third-inning injury as he knocks down line drive near head

Zimmermann getting stronger with each start

VIERA, Fla. -- Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann turned in a solid outing in the Nationals' 2-1 victory over the Astros, pitching four innings and allowing one unearned on three hits, striking out three batters and walking one.

"I'm getting stronger every time out. I'm building up the pitches," Zimmermann said.

The Nationals received a scare in the third inning as Robbie Grossman hit a line drive that was headed toward Zimmermann's face, but he blocked it with his glove and then tried to throw Grossman out at first base. Zimmermann's throw sailed past first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and went up the first-base line, allowing Grossman to go all the way to third base.

Manager Matt Williams, pitching coach Steve McCatty and assistant athletic trainer Steve Gober went to check on Zimmermann, who said he was OK.

"I saw the replay and the ball was middle-middle. I was just lucky to get a glove on it," Zimmermann said. "I saw [Grossman] and he was halfway down the line and I got there in plenty of time and I picked up the ball, and he is getting close to the bag and I rushed it. I dropped down, threw sidearm and it was a terrible throw."

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.