Friday, April 27, 2018
Sports

New Tigers starter relishes facing former team

VIERA — Jordan Zimmermann retired eight of his nine batters in his Tigers debut against his former team, and Detroit fell 8-4 to the Nationals on Saturday.

Zimmermann yielded a two-out hit to Pedro Severino in the third inning before being replaced by Bruce Rondon, who gave up a two-run homer to Ben Revere.

Zimmermann made his major-league debut with Washington in 2009 and played for the Nationals for seven seasons before signing a $110 million, five-year contract with Detroit over the winter.

"It's definitely fun getting out there and attacking these guys after all the smack talk," a smiling Zimmermann said. "They said when I moved on they were going to take me deep. It was a good outing."

Among the batters Zimmermann retired Saturday were Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth and Anthony Rendon.

"You know some of these guy's tendencies and obviously, they (tried) to switch it up on me," Zimmermann said.

"I threw (Werth) a first-pitch heater. Usually, he takes the first pitch. I figured he might be swinging (so) I threw it for a ball. I threw a slider and he's yelling at me out there, rounding first after he popped up. It was fun."

Before taking the mound, Zimmermann got a chance to catch up with Werth and Nationals starter Steven Strasburg.

The Strasburg and Zimmermann families are close, in part because both men have children who are the same age.

"It was strange, but it was good to see him," Strasburg said. "I saw him in the weight room before the game. He's doing well. He likes it over there, so I'm happy for him."

Also, Tigers right-hander Anibal Sanchez (right triceps inflammation) threw 25 pitches in a bullpen session in Lakeland. The next step will be to throw another bullpen and perhaps a live batting practice session.

BRAVES: Left-handed reliever Andrew McKirahan is likely headed for a second Tommy John elbow surgery after being diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament. McKirahan, 26, had the surgery in 2012. … The team started paring down its pitching staff, releasing right-handed reliever David Carpenter.

DODGERS: Right-hander Kenta Maeda pitched two scoreless innings in his debut with the Dodgers, striking out two and giving up one hit against the Diamondbacks. Maeda, 27, signed a $25 million, eight-year deal after eight seasons in Japan.

NATIONALS: Right-hander Jonathan Papelbon left the team for what manager Dusty Baker called a "family emergency."

ORIOLES: Utilityman Jimmy Paredes is out indefinitely after he bruised his left wrist diving for a ball in Thursday's game against the Rays. An MRI exam determined there was no soft tissue damage.

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