KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- This was Jason Marquis' best spring outing for Washington, and Atlanta's Jair Jurrjens also was pleased with his start.
Jurrjens threw five crisp innings, Brian McCann collected two more hits and the Braves beat a Nationals split-squad 4-0 on Saturday.Ryan Zimmerman singled leading off the fourth inning for Washington's only hit off Jurrjens, who walked two and struck out three, throwing 40 of his 59 pitches for strikes."That's the best I've felt all spring training, not just in results but in my location," Jurrjens said. "Everything was working."Jurrjens, who was 14-10 with a 2.60 ERA last season, reported to camp with a sore right shoulder, but is feeling good now. He is 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA and is scheduled for six innings in his last spring start Thursday against Detroit."He was outstanding," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "He looks ready to go."Marquis allowed two runs and eight hits, walked two and struck out two in 5 2/3 innings. The 15-game winner with Colorado last year entered with a 14.40 ERA."He's going in the right direction," Washington manager Jim Riggleman said. "I never was really concerned. It's spring training. Guys go through a lot of different things."Marquis, who signed a $15 million, two-year contract in December as a free agent, got 10 outs on ground balls."I'm starting to feel more comfortable with my delivery," Marquis said. "It just took me a little longer than I wanted to. Something clicked the other day, the day after my start against the Mets. I was playing catch and it just felt right."McCann went 2 for 3 to raise his spring average to .514. Omar Infante and Matt Diaz also had two hits for Atlanta, with Infante lifting his average to .413.Peter Moylan, Eric O'Flaherty, Takashi Saito and Billy Wagner each threw an inning after Jurrjens left. Saito and Wagner pitched on consecutive days for the first time this spring."I feel good. I feel healthy," said Wagner, who had reconstructive left elbow surgery in 2008. "I'm excited about the progress."
RHP Manny Acosta, who appeared in 36 games with Atlanta last year, was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett. Acosta, 28, was 1-1 with a 4.34 ERA in 2009 and 0-2 with a 5.14 ERA in six games this spring. The Braves and Nationals will play again Sunday, with Tommy Hanson starting for the Braves against Scott Olsen in Viera. Atlanta SS Yunel Escobar sat out his second straight game with a sore back and may not be ready to play Sunday. Braves rookie RF Jason Heyward went 0 for 4, but had his fourth stolen base of the spring and made a sliding catch.