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After first 'pen session, Haren lists spring goals

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VIERA, Fla. -- As Dan Haren took the mound to face hitters for the first time this spring, he was throwing to catcher Wilson Ramos, but it was the people he was throwing in front of that may have affected him most initially.

With a Thursday afternoon audience that included manager Davey Johnson, general manager Mike Rizzo and principal owner Mark Lerner, Haren was admittedly a little over-amped in his first bullpen session. Afterward, he had a conversation with Johnson that centered on mainly not trying to over-do it early.

"That's easier said than done when [Johnson's] watching and the owner is watching and the GM is watching, and stuff like that," Haren said. "But I feel good. I just wanted to go out and get a few things accomplished. I've got a lot of things I'm working on, and it's still really early."

The newest member of the Nationals' rotation said he intends to slow things down in his upcoming bullpen sessions before he makes his first Spring Training start Feb. 27 against the Marlins. Haren said, at this point, he's spending most of his time talking to Ramos, catcher Kurt Suzuki and pitching coach Steve McCatty. Haren says one of his primary objectives this spring is to develop his fastball and cutter on the right side of the plate.

"A lot of my game is on the left side of the plate with cutters and fastballs," Haren said. "But toward the end of last season in September, I started doing some different things on the right side of the plate with my cutter and fastball and working them in together out there, and started having a lot of success. But it's still a work-in-progress."

Jordan Zimmermann, who also threw BP on Thursday, said much of his focus this spring has been on his changeup and finding the confidence to throw it regularly.

"It was good today," Zimmermann said. "I threw quite a few of them. There was only one or two that were not so great, but the other ones were the bottom of the zone, a good speed differential."

Zimmermann admitted he didn't entirely trust the pitch last season, and also didn't know when best to throw it in games. But he's taking advantage of the opportunities in Spring Training to develop his confidence in it.

"I'm going to throw it a lot down here and see what happens," Zimmermann said. "I don't really care about the results down here. Just getting some work in with it and throwing it to someone other than your team."

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