Door opens for AFL star Zimmerman

Door opens for AFL standout Zimmerman

The future of the Nationals may be in D.C. sooner than expected.

The trade of incumbent third baseman Vinny Castilla has opened the door for Ryan Zimmerman, the No. 4 overall pick of the 2005 First-Year Entry Draft, who has had an impressive season so far in the Arizona Fall League. Brendan Harris is also continuing to make a strong push to get himself on the field at RFK Stadium next spring.

Here is a look at how all Washington farmhands have fared over the week down in the desert:

RHP Roy Corcoran -- Though he doesn't possess the huge, intimidating frame of Roy Halladay, this Roy was just as effective as Roy Oswalt over the past week, pitching three scoreless innings, striking out two while giving up just one hit and one walk in two appearances.

SS Brendan Harris -- Harris has finally joined the company of mortals in the AFL, seeing his batting average fall below .400 for the first time, but it wasn't for a lack of trying. The versatile infielder hit a two-run double on Halloween against Grand Canyon, then went 2-for-5 on Nov. 1 against the Javelinas.

LHP David Maust -- The left-hander from West Virginia pitched in just one game this week, on Oct. 29. Aside from a pair of solo home runs, Maust faired well over 4 2/3 innings, striking out five while walking just one.

RHP Chris Schroder -- Schroder made good use out of his only game this week on Nov. 2, picking up the win against the Javelinas with two scoreless innings in relief, striking out one.

1B Josh Whitesell -- Whitesell took the place of fellow first baseman Larry Broadway and was quickly inserted into the lineup, going hitless on both Nov. 2 and 3, but he was able to draw a walk in each game.

3B Ryan Zimmerman -- With the Nov. 3 trade of Castilla to the Padres, Zimmerman can concentrate on getting ready to man the hot corner in D.C. for 2006. Zimmerman was hitless in his first two games of the week before getting a single against the Javelinas on Nov. 2.

Michael Echan is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.