Zimmerman Remains Hot, LaRoche Returns, and Lidge Closes Door in Nationals Win

Michael NargiSenior Analyst IMarch 29, 2012

Zimmerman will be a big part of the Nats' playoff hopes this season.
Zimmerman will be a big part of the Nats' playoff hopes this season.Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Adam LaRoche and Ryan Zimmerman had productive performances in the Washington Nationals' 6-3 win against the Atlanta Braves on Thursday.

LaRoche successfully returned to action for the Nationals on Thursday in his first Grapefruit League game since March 15.

LaRoche connected for a hard single up the middle and finished the day going 1-for-2 with a walk.

As the Nationals continue to regain pieces of their team from injury, Zimmerman continues on his hot spring. Zimmerman hit a 2-run home run in the sixth inning to give the Nats a 2-1 lead. It was his third home run of the spring. 

Zimmerman is hitting .385 with six doubles and three home runs this spring. 

Both Zimmerman and LaRoche will be pivotal to the Nats' offensive success going forward, especially if Michael Morse misses any games in the beginning of the season.

Washington's closer, Drew Storen, will begin the season on the DL, leaving the closing duties to flamethrower Henry Rodriguez and Brad Lidge. 

Lidge was called on today and looked sharp. He allowed an unearned run but was still able to shut the door on the Braves. He gave up a single with one out and struck out two.

The Nats have the luxury of mixing it up between Lidge and Rodriguez while Storen continues to build his arm up.

Rodriguez is having a phenomenal spring. He has pitched nine innings, struck out seven, has only allowed three hits and has not allowed a run.

Lidge has been sharp as well, throwing eight innings while allowing one earned run and striking out 11.

The Nationals look like they have enough to get through the injuries that will accompany the start their season.