Nats spring training: Zim, Harper and Williams get in the groove

VIERA, Fla. – It was a beautiful, sunny Tuesday in Viera, Fla. – not a cloud in the sky and a temperature around 80 degrees.

By far, it was the warmest day in the past week according to everyone who’s been at Nationals spring training since pitchers and catchers reported last Thursday.

Everyone is in camp, although no one has seen Jayson Werth – not even his new manager, Matt Williams.

The position players took batting practice, Bryce Harper for the first time. Williams raved about the way he looks and says he doesn’t worry about Bryce’s knee.

Bryce reported to camp with a few extra pounds, but did so on purpose because he loses weight during the season.

Bryce is expected to talk with the media on Wednesday, when the position players will have their physicals. The first full-team workout is set for Thursday.

When it comes to positions, Ryan Zimmerman has a new glove in his locker. He says he’s had a few catches with his first baseman’s mitt.

Matt Williams hopes Zimmerman can play there when the Nats face a tough lefty and he can stack the lineup with right-handed batters.

Zim says his shoulder feels good and knows he’ll be playing 99 percent of his games at third. However, it gives Williams flexibility with Tyler Moore in the mix as well – that’s if Moore makes the club. He could be fighting for a roster spot now that the Nats have both Scott Hairston and Nate McLouth playing the outfield.

So, how’s Matt Williams doing in his first spring training?

Zimmerman likes the way it’s all mapped out: prepared and organized. He says Williams isn’t the drill sergeant he’s been portrayed as, but that it’s also not a country club.

He says the new manager just wants things done the right way: Drill on fundamentals, get your work in, make it good work, get it done and get out.

Zim says that’s how it should be and none of the players have a problem with that.

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