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Edwin Jackson allowed one run on two hits over six strong innings.
Five days removed from a shellacking in Sarasota, Edwin Jackson was fantastic. The right-hander allowed just one run on two hits over six strong innings and was pleased with the approach he took in his second-to-last tune-up of camp.
"I know spring has been kinda up and down," he said. "But I'm just trying to go out with a little bit more focus and a little bit more [regular] season mentality."
Jackson, who was tagged by the Orioles on Saturday for 10 runs (seven earned) and 12 hits in only 3 2/3 innings, was sharp throughout this start. He retired 10 consecutive batters at one point, issued only one walk and was efficient enough to get through six innings without reaching his pitch limit of 85.
"Awfully good," manager Davey Johnson said in evaluating his No. 4 starter.
Jackson's lone mistake of the day was a doozy: He left a fifth-inning fastball up to Jason Heyward and watched as the ball soared over the 30-foot-high batter's eye in center field.
"I think he just missed it, though. I don't think he got all of it," Jackson joked, adding: "If you're going to give 'em up, that's the way to give 'em up."
-- Mark DeRosa was scheduled to make his first start of the spring in left field but was a late scratch after experiencing tightness in his left calf. The veteran utilityman first noticed some cramping in that leg Tuesday, but he's not at all concerned about any long-term effect and expects to play tomorrow night.
"I figure why go out there and jeopardize everything [when] you've worked so hard," he said. "If anyone is tired of being in the training room, it's me. I've spent the better part of the last 2 1/2 years in there. I feel like my swing is there. I feel good about what I've done in camp so far. I just didn't want to do anything foolish."
DeRosa, who has endured through three wrist surgeries over the last two years, has enjoyed a strong spring. The 37-year-old is batting .385 (10-for-26) with 10 walks that bring his on-base percentage to a robust .556.
-- He was probably going to make the Opening Day roster anyway, but Brett Carroll probably sealed the deal today when he reached base three times and delivered the biggest blow of the game: a bases-loaded triple that turned into a Little League grand slam when Atlanta shortstop Jack Wilson threw the ball away and allowed Carroll to come all the way around to score.
"I just kept running until I ... didn't stop," Carroll said.
The 29-year-old outfielder, in camp as a non-roster invitee, hasn't been told anything about his status, but the scales continue to tilt in his favor.
"I've been down this road before," said Carroll, who is with his fourth organization in three years. "Obviously my hope is to break camp, because I'd like to contribute. But until I'm on that plane going north, I'll just continue taking it one day at a time."
For what it's worth, Johnson all but said Carroll and outfielder/first baseman Xavier Nady are going to make the Opening Day roster.
"It's no secret I like the way Carroll fits," the manager said. "He's a little better fit for what we're trying to do. Nady is a nice fit, too."
-- The Nationals were without both of their left-handed outfielders today, with Rick Ankiel sidelined by a sore quadriceps muscle and Roger Bernadina attending his father's funeral in Curacao. And neither player will be back tomorrow, with Johnson wanting to give Ankiel another day of rest and Bernadina not scheduled to return until Saturday.
-- Chad Durbin tossed a scoreless inning of relief, then quickly showered, dressed and packed to join his wife, who is due to give birth to the couple's second child tomorrow morning. The right-hander, trying to make the club as a non-roster invitee, is scheduled to rejoin the team Monday in Fort Myers.
-- The Nationals technically are playing split-squad games today, with a nightcap to come against the Tigers in Lakeland, though they sent only a couple of players from big-league camp on that trip. Steve Lombardozzi is starting at second base, and Chad Tracy is serving as designated hitter. Journeyman right-hander Mitch Atkins, slated to open the season in the Class AAA Syracuse rotation, will start against Detroit's Max Scherzer.