MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Zim to make spring debut at 1B today

Preserving veteran's health among Nats manager Baker's priorities

Zim to make spring debut at 1B today

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Nationals slugger Ryan Zimmerman will see action at first base for the first time this spring during Wednesday's 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Marlins. Zimmerman played his first two games of the Grapefruit League season as a designated hitter. 

Zimmerman, who sat out the Nationals' first 12 Grapefruit League games as a precaution due to left foot issues, feels that manager Dusty Baker and the training staff have done a great job getting him ready for the season.

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"The goal is to have all of our guys stay healthy," said Zimmerman, who played 93 of his 98 career games at first base last season. "There are some things you can't control. I think they are really doing a good job, so far."

Even though Zimmerman will be on the field, Baker said the team will continue to be cautious when it comes to Zimmerman's health.

"It's great to have all the guys back, and that was my goal -- get out of Spring Training with my total team," Baker said. "We have two weeks now until we leave Spring Training. I'll start playing my [regulars] more, stretch them out."

Zimmerman discusses injury

Zimmerman entered Tuesday 1-for-5 with an RBI after two games. He vows to be ready when the Nationals open the regular season against the Braves in Atlanta on April 4.

"Getting in the box and facing live pitching is always an adjustment period," Zimmerman said. "It's not easy. I've been happy with my at-bats, though."

Meanwhile, starting second baseman Daniel Murphy received the start at first base against the Astros on Tuesday. Baker said he wanted to see Murphy play the position. Murphy will be used at first and third base if Baker needs to make a double-switch late in games.

"I like to have options," Baker said. "That's a pretty good option."

Baker also announced that Clint Robinson will be the club's backup first baseman.

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.