Craig Heist, wtop.com
JUPITER, FLa. – Bryce Harper went 2-for-3 and drove in four runs while Chris Young threw five scoreless innings in his best outing of the spring as the Nationals beat the Marlins 7-5.
Harper had a two-run double off Marlins starter Wade LeBlanc as part of a three-run third inning. With the bases loaded and no one out in the fifth, Harper touched up LeBlanc for a two-run single.
Harper raised his batting average to .400 this spring. He has four doubles, a triple, three home runs and 12 RBI.
Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman each had sacrifice flies and Kurt Suzuki homered in the ninth off Tom Koehler.
Meanwhile, Young was in total control using all his pitches while keeping the Marlins hitter off balance.
“I felt good and felt like I continues to make progress,” Young said. “The fastball command has gotten better and the slider was better today than it has been the last couple of outings. I just felt good overall.”
Young has thrown a total of 12 innings over his three starts this spring, allowing four runs and nine hits with an ERA of 3.00. His next scheduled start is Monday against the Astros in Kissimmee but he has an opt-out in his minor league which can be exercised by Sunday.
Right now manager Davey Johnson isn’t sure if he will have the tall, right-hander for his next start.
“I would think what he has done this spring and what he has done in his career, he won’t have any problem, if he didn’t make this club, making some club,” Johnson said.
Young has pitched for three teams over his nine year career, the latest being the last two seasons with the Mets. He went 4-9 last year with a 4.15 ERA in 20 starts and 115 innings after coming back from shoulder surgery.
GM Mike Rizzo and the Nationals brought him on board to provide insurance in case anything would happen to one of the starters either in spring training or early in the season. If there is a Major League offer out there, Young is likely gone. But for the time being, he is a National even though his future is up in the air.
“I don’t know, I’m not a fortune teller,” Young said when asked what he thinks might happen. “I’m trying to not focus on it. My focus is trying to get ready for the season and continue to improve, have good bullpens, and have good games. Like I said, I’m feeling good and the progress I’ve made but I just can’t predict how things are going to play out.”
“I love it here. I’ve had a great spring and I love being around these guys. It’s a lot of fun; just being around a winning team is a lot of fun. You can tell how good this team is and it’s fun to be around. The coaching staff has been incredible from (pitching Coach Steve McCatty) and there is nothing not to like about being here. I am also realistic in that this staff is so deep, you know, 12, 13, 14 pitchers deep here and there are a lot of guys that wouldn’t be good enough to make this staff.”
Krol comes over as PTBN
The Nationals acquired left-handed pitcher Ian Krol from the Oakland Athletics, completing the trade that gave the Nats right-handed pitchers A.J. Cole and Blake Treinen in exchange for outfielder Michael Morse on January 16.
Krol was named Oakland’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year for the 2010 season, going 10-4 with a 2.80 ERA in 28 games between Kane County (Single-A/Midwest League) and Stockton (Single-A/California League). He was selected by the A’s in the seventh round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.
A Brave new world
The Nationals travel to Disney tomorrow night to take on their division rivals the Atlanta Braves at 6:05 p.m. Dan Haren will get the start for the Nationals.