The Washington Post

Cole Kimball is on the rise

From a pitching standpoint, much of Monday’s game, a 14-9 win for the Nationals, was a horror show. The Nationals <a href=””>used six pitchers</a>, and five of them were dinged for multiple hits and at least one earned run. And then there was Cole Kimball, who pitched two dazzling, scoreless frames -- an oasis in a pitching desert.

Kimball, 25, is one of the more intriguing pitchers in camp -- a hard-throwing, late-blooming right-hander who throws in the upper 90s and is just impressive in the way he carries himself like a veteran.

“We’ve gotten nothing but rave reviews about him throughout the [farm] system,” Manager Jim Riggleman said on Tuesday. “Everyone’s raving about his makeup, his arm, everything.”

In 2010, Kimball began the year pitching middle relief for Class A Potomac (where he also pitched in 2009) and ended it by closing games for Class AA Harrisburg. He will probably get squeezed out of the Nationals’ 2011 bullpen simply because he has minor-league options remaining, while other candidates do not. But Riggleman cautioned not to count him out.

“There are some things working against him,” Riggleman said. “But that’s not to say he couldn’t pitch himself onto this team.”

A few other notes before today’s Nats/Mets tilt:

*Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman was scratched from today’s road trip by a mild strain of an abdominal muscle. Riggleman said Zimmerman would have played if it were a regular season game, but there was no point in pushing him in early March.

*Veteran lefty Tom Gorzelanny will make his 2011 Grapefruit League debut in a split-squad game in Kissimmee on Thursday against the Astros. Gorzelanny has been about a week behind the team’s other pitchers due to an illness prior to the opening of camp.

*Today’s lineup: DH Morgan, SS ian Desmond, 3B Jerry Hairston, LF Mike Morse, C Wilson Ramos, RF Jeff Frazier, CF Rick Ankiel, 1B Chris Marrero, 2B Brian Bixler. RHP Jordan Zimmermann is pitching.

*Finally, I had to come downstairs to the press room at in order to find working wireless -- since it doesn’t work in the press box here at “Digital Domain Park.” (I think that’s what one would call “irony.” Maybe it should be called “Analog Domain Park.”) In any case, looks like I have to choose between working wireless and watching the game. I’m scoping out the television situation now, to see if I can watch from the press room and still do the live blog. But it’s a fluid situation.

Dave Sheinin has been covering baseball and writing features and enterprise stories for The Washington Post since 1999.


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