VIERA, Fla. — Ryan Zimmerman has already told Nationals manager Davey Johnson that he needs only 50 at-bats in spring training to be ready for the regular season.
Washington’s third baseman, who had 48 at-bats coming into Wednesday’s game against Atlanta, homered three times to lead a split squad of Nationals to an 11-2 win over the Braves.
“I guess as soon as Zim gets his 50 at-bats, he’s ready,” Johnson joked.
Zimmerman wasn’t the only one to go deep for the Nationals, who got a pair of home runs from catcher Wilson Ramos and another from Tyler Moore.
Four of Washington’s six homers came against reliever Daniel Rodriguez, who gave up eight runs in two-plus innings.
Ramos and Zimmerman each had four RBI.
Both of Ramos’ home runs came against Rodriguez, and both were on the first pitch. The second was a three-run shot.
Zimmerman led off the fourth inning with a home run against Rodriguez, led off the fifth with one off Cristhian Martinez and then hit a two-run shot against Dusty Hughes in the seventh.
“I hit the ball good,” Zimmerman said. “I’m starting to feel better. It’s nice to start getting going.”
The Nationals have one game left in Viera today against the New York Mets before heading to Washington D.C. for an exhibition game against the Yankees on Friday. They open the season Monday at home against Miami.
While a number of teams have had competition for positions throughout the spring, the Nationals have pretty much known what their Opening Day roster will look like.
“We’ve pretty much known all spring what our team is,” Zimmerman said.
“It’s almost the exact same as last year. It’s kind of an advantage for us because we get to use this time to get back to doing what we were doing last year. … We have a good team. We just have to keep getting better.”
Zimmerman might be on track for Opening Day, but Atlanta catcher Gerald Laird admittedly needed some work after being slowed earlier this spring by a calf injury.
Laird and teammate Evan Gattis hit back-to-back home runs off Washington starter Ross Detwiler in the sixth inning.
“I’m starting to feel good at the right time,” Laird said.
It was Laird’s second game in a row, but only his 12th of the spring. He has had just 25 at-bats.
Gattis has made the Braves’ Opening Day roster and actually has a chance to see some early playing time with Brian McCann still recovering from off-season shoulder surgery and Laird not getting many at-bats.