Zimm confident in spring progress despite 2 HRs

Righty says he feels 'good' and 'healthy' after outing against Phillies

Zimm confident in spring progress despite 2 HRs

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The wind was blowing out to left field -- a right-handed batter's dream -- and Jordan Zimmermann took the brunt of it in the Tigers' 6-6 tie with the Phillies on Thursday.

Zimmermann gave up a pair of two-run homers to Maikel Franco during an otherwise fine start in which he lasted 3 2/3 innings. On the day he had three strikeouts, but gave up four runs on five hits and a walk.

"Everything was good. I got my pitches in," Zimmermann said of his 49-pitch outing.

Minus the one walk, the only real problems he had were on a fastball and slider to Franco.

"Other than those two pitches [to Franco], I thought it was a good day," said Zimmermann. "He likes to get his arms extended, so if you give him something over the middle, he's going to make you pay."

Zimmermann said the wind likely played a factor in locating his slider as well.

"The little cross-wind wasn't helping me much, wasn't helping much with the spin," Zimmermann said. "It's going to be a little harder on days like this."

Zimmermann's likely batterymate for the year will be James McCann, who said Thursday's game was just the second time all spring he's caught Zimmermann. McCann added that there's already good chemistry between the two, and he's looking forward to the regular season.

"[Zimmermann is] a bulldog -- he wants the ball, he wants to be on the rubber, he wants to go," McCann said. "It's going to be exciting and a lot of fun to catch him. He's got very good stuff."

A two-time All-Star with a career 3.32 ERA in 178 starts, Zimmerman was a key addition to the Tigers' rotation this year, signing a five-year, $110 million contract.

With roughly four starts left in spring, Zimmermann figures to work up to about 70 pitches in his next outing as he continues to get stretched out.

"I feel good. I feel healthy," Zimmermann said. "The slider is not quite there. ... I just have to work on getting that down a little bit, and I'll be fine."

Greg Zeck is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.