Nationals Journal

Strong starts for Marquis, Espinosa, Coffey

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Marquis 'excited' with early results

So far this spring, Jason Marquis has made easy work of the times when he's on the mound. On Wednesday, Marquis allowed the Marlins no runs on two hits and a walk, striking out three. For the entire spring, Marquis has pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing three hits and one walk. This spring he's needed 70 pitches in seven innings, and Wednesday he induced eight groundball outs. "I'm excited that I'm getting the results I am this early," Marquis said.

Danny Espinosa is officially having a monster start to his first spring training as the Nationals' projected second baseman, also his first major league spring training. Wednesday he went 3 for 3 with a home run, a double, a hit by pitch and four RBI. He's 10 for 22 with two homers and a double for the spring.

Todd Coffey struck out the side Wednesday, his fourth scoreless inning in four tries. Coffey probably has been the most dominant Nats pitcher so far. He's struck out six, walked none and given up one hit.

Harper is confident

Bryce Harper's debut, when he struck out twice on seven pitches, is feeling more and more like an insignificant memory. Harper laced an RBI single during Wednesday's 8-4 Nationals win over the Marlins in his only at-bat, which raised his spring training batting average to .357. Fourteen spring at-bats does not mean much for most players. For an 18-year-old to notch five hits in that span against major league pitching, it seems rather telling.

"I feel really good up there," Harper said. "I feel really confident in myself. There's guys who are going to come after you. I want to hit right now. I'm feeling hitterish." . . .

Jayson Werth, whom the Nationals had planned on bringing with them to Jupiter, stayed behind in Viera after he told Manager Jim Riggleman his legs felt tight. . . .

Ryan Zimmerman also stayed behind, sitting out his third straight game as he waits for his slightly hurt oblique muscle to fully heal.

Zimmerman is not concerned in the least. The ailment is a "non-factor," he said, and "if it was the regular season, I would have played every single day."

- Adam Kilgore

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