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Washington at Houston

    Scoreboard
    Washington1
    Houston «5

    Astros 5, Nationals 1

    •  

    KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) - Chris Johnson's strong spring has made him a leading candidate to be the Houston Astros' opening day third baseman.

    Johnson hit his third home run of the spring and Bud Norris and Lucas Harrell pitched three hitless innings and the Astros beat the Washington Nationals 5-1 on Friday.

    The Nationals are 0-9-1 in their past 10 spring games.

    But the big news for the 27-year-old Johnson came earlier in the day when the Astros optioned Jimmy Paredes, his chief competitor for the third base job, to Triple-A Oklahoma City and moved him to second base.

    Manager Brad Mills wasn't ready to write Johnson into the opening day lineup yet. Brett Wallace, last year's opening day starter at first base, appears to be the only remaining competition, and he hasn't played third base in the major leagues.

    "There's no doubt C.J. has had an outstanding spring and he's got the upper hand simply because of how he has played," Mills said. "But let's see how things play out. C.J. has been extremely professional and we want him to continue to do that, but we don't want to discount the other guys either."

    If Johnson starts at third base on April 6 against Colorado, he could be the only Astros player to start at the same position on opening day in 2011 and 2012.

    Carlos Lee, who started the 2011 opener in left field, has played first base exclusively this spring. Brett Myers, last year's opening day starter, is now Houston's closer.

    Johnson lost the job to Paredes last year, but he came to camp knowing it is a new era for the Astros, who have new ownership, a new general manager and a lot of new players.

    "There are so many people seeing me for the first time," he said, "and I want to make that good first impression. That's the way I'm going about it."

    He is hitting .353 this spring and is the only Houston player with three home runs.

    Paredes hit .286 in 46 games as a 22-year-old third baseman last year.

    He has not had a good spring, however, and the Astros decided he was playing out of position.

    "When he was with the Yankees he started as a shortstop and got moved to second base," general manager Jeff Luhnow said.

    "Really I was trying to figure out from the time I got here why he was at third base because he really does seem to have all the tools and skill set to play the middle infield."

    Jayson Werth's single off Myers in the seventh inning was the first hit for the Nationals. Jason Michaels homered in the eighth.

    Norris gave up one walk while striking out three before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the third inning.

    "I know I have to get up to 85 or 90 (in two more starts)," he said, "but the biggest thing is to start the season healthy and not over-push yourself right now, just make sure you're ready on Day One."

    Jordan Zimmermann gave up four runs and eight hits, including a home run to Brian Bixler, in five innings for the Nationals.

    Manager Davey Johnson said Zimmermann will "more than likely" pitch Washington's third game, after Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez.

    "Today was a good tuneup for Zim. I think one more and he's going to be ready," Johnson said, who is not concerned about his team's bad spring numbers.

    "I've told them it's a long spring, and I want you ready for opening day. I think we've done that," he said.

    NOTES: Center fielder Jordan Schafer, who injured his left hand Sunday, will probably be back in the Astros lineup by the end of the weekend, Mills said. ... Friday's six cuts left the Astros with 41 player, including 19 pitchers. ... The Nationals have 37 players.

     
    Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
     
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    Washington Nationals
    HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
    Ian Desmond, SS3000020 .250
        Christopher McConnell, SS1000010 .000
    Danny Espinosa, 2B2000110 .211
        Josh Johnson, 2B1010000 .500
    Ryan Zimmerman, 3B3000010 .385
        Stephen King, 3B1000000 .000
    Jayson Werth, RF3010001 .259
        Randolph Oduber, RF1000001 .000
    Chad Tracy, 1B2000000 .217
        Timothy Pahuta, 1B1000011 .000
    Jason Michaels, LF3111000 .258
        Craig Stammen, P0000000 .000
    Roger Bernadina, CF1000000 .189
        Brett Carroll, CF2000020 .250
    Jesus Flores, C3000000 .300
        Carlos Maldonado, C0000000 .364
    Jordan Zimmermann, P1000010 .000
       a- Kevin Keyes, PH1000000 .000
        Tyler Clippard, P0000000 .000
        Brad Lidge, P0000000 .000
       b- Stephen Lombardozzi, PH-LF1000000 .300
    Totals3013119  
    a-flied out for Zimmermann in the 6th
    b-flied out for Lidge in the 8th
    Batting
    HR - Jason Michaels (1, Abad)
    RBI - Jason Michaels (6)
    Team LOB - 3
    Fielding
    DP - Espinosa-Desmond-Pahuta
    Washington Nationals
    PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
    Jordan Zimmermann (L,0-1) 5844131 4.60
    Tyler Clippard 1311001 4.50
    Brad Lidge 1100020 1.80
    Craig Stammen 1000000 1.86
    Pitches-Strikes - Jordan Zimmermann 35-29, Tyler Clippard 6-6, Brad Lidge 9-8, Craig Stammen 3-3
    Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jordan Zimmermann 6-5, Craig Stammen 2-1
    Batters Faced - Jordan Zimmermann 23, Tyler Clippard 6, Brad Lidge 4, Craig Stammen 3
    Houston Astros
    HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
    Brian Bixler, LF4121001 .333
        Brett Myers, P0000000 .000
        J.B. Shuck, CF0000000 .290
    Jed Lowrie, SS4010013 .333
    Travis Buck, RF4110012 .333
    Carlos Lee, 1B3121001 .367
        Justin Ruggiano, LF1010000 .167
    Brian Bogusevic, CF3100112 .103
        Fernando Abad, P0000000 .000
        Joe Thurston, 2B0000000 .222
    Chris Johnson, 3B4111013 .353
        Scott Moore, 3B0000000 .200
    Chris Snyder, C3011000 .318
        Carlos Corporan, C0000000 .125
        Brandon Lyon, P0000000 .000
    Jose Altuve, 2B4011010 .276
    Bud Norris, P0000000 .000
       a- Jack Cust, PH1010000 .040
        Lucas Harrell, P1000002 .000
       b- Brett Wallace, PH-1B2010000 .333
    Totals34512515  
    a-singled for Norris in the 3rd
    b-singled for Harrell in the 6th
    Batting
    2B - Jed Lowrie (2, Zimmermann), Travis Buck (4, Zimmermann)
    HR - Brian Bixler (2, Zimmermann), Chris Johnson (3, Clippard)
    SF - Chris Snyder (1)
    RBI - Brian Bixler (5), Carlos Lee (6), Chris Johnson (6), Chris Snyder (3), Jose Altuve (2)
    2-OUT RBI - Jose Altuve (1)
    SB - Justin Ruggiano (1, 2nd base off Lidge/Flores), Brian Bogusevic (4, 2nd base off Zimmermann/Flores)
    Team LOB - 7
    Houston Astros
    PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
    Bud Norris (W,2-1) 3000130 5.00
    Lucas Harrell (H,3) 3000020 3.09
    Brett Myers (H,3) 1100020 5.40
    Fernando Abad (H,3) 1111011 3.18
    Brandon Lyon 1100010 3.00
    Pitches-Strikes - Bud Norris 19-15, Lucas Harrell 13-13, Brett Myers 8-8, Fernando Abad 6-6, Brandon Lyon 6-6
    Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Bud Norris 4-2, Lucas Harrell 4-3, Brett Myers 1-0, Fernando Abad 1-1, Brandon Lyon 1-1
    Batters Faced - Bud Norris 10, Lucas Harrell 9, Brett Myers 4, Fernando Abad 4, Brandon Lyon 4
    Game Information
    Attendance - 3323
    Game Time - 2:15
    Temperature - 80
    Umpires - Home - Lance Barksdale, First Base - Gary Cederstrom, Second Base - Larry Vanover, Third Base - Laz Diaz