Third baseman makes spring debut -- but at DH

VIERA, Fla. -- Ryan Zimmerman won't test his surgically repaired right shoulder defensively in a game until later this month. He got his bat going Sunday.

Zimmerman went 1-for-3 with a RBI single in his spring training debut as the Nationals defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 7-6.

» Left-handers Bill Bray, Will Ohman and Brandon Mann and right-hander Tanner Roark were assigned to minor league camp.
» Right-hander Henry Rodriguez is scheduled to throw batting practice Tuesday and make his spring training debut Friday against St. Louis.
» Closer Rafael Soriano is set to make his exhibition debut Tuesday.

The third baseman had arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder Oct. 25. An All-Star in 2009, Zimmerman hit .282 with 25 homers and 95 RBIs for the NL East champions last season despite the injured shoulder, which needed cortisone shots in June and September.

He was the designated hitter against the Cardinals rather than playing his usual third base and likely will not play in the field for several more weeks.

"He just needs the at-bats," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "I'm not concerned about him getting on the field at all. We can DH him until about [March 18]. ... I'd rather take that real slow."

Washington starter Ross Detwiler gave up one run and four hits in two scoreless innings and struck out four in his last appearance before joining the United States for the World Baseball Classic.

Chad Tracy hit a two-run homer and a double for Washington, and Zach Walters had a game-ending single off Eduardo Sanchez in the ninth.

Shane Robinson homered for St. Louis, and Pete Kozma had three hits.

Starting pitcher Jamie Garcia threw three innings and gave up two runs on five hits while striking out four.

It was the second start of spring training for Garcia, who said he felt good and reported no problems with his left shoulder, which he rehabbed during the offseason after being sidelined in last year's playoff run because of a strained rotator cuff and inflammation.

"I'm at a point right now where I'm just going to go out there and compete," Garcia said. "I've got that positive mentality, just like I did when I came to camp."

The Nationals did not make a lot of hard contact against Garcia, though it was hard to tell whether it was because of the left-hander's movement or the wind.

"We'll see next time when there's no wind," Garcia said. "Hopefully, it was a little of both."

Zimmerman struck out in his first at-bat against Garcia, then blooped a single into right field to drive in Jayson Werth in the third inning.

Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos also made his first spring appearance and went 1-for-2 with a ninth-inning double. Ramos tore the ACL and meniscus in his right knee May 12.

While Zimmerman and Ramos were making their first appearances, Detwiler was making his second and last start before the WBC.

"I think I threw more offspeed pitches in two innings today than I did all year last year," Detwiler said. - AP