VIERA, Fla. (AP) — Trying to earn rotation spots, Detroit's Jeremy Bonderman worked out of trouble over 4 1-3 innings, while Washington's J.D. Martin began poorly but finished well, and Johnny Damon's two hits helped a Tigers split squad beat the Nationals 8-2 Thursday night.
Still working his way back from shoulder surgery in 2008, Bonderman allowed five hits and two runs — one earned. He also threw a wild pitch and walked a batter while recording only one 1-2-3 inning. He's competing with Dontrelle Willis and Nate Robertson for two openings.
Martin gave up five runs in the first, then retired the last 11 Tigers he faced over five innings.
Nationals center fielder Nyjer Morgan singled twice and stole two bases in his first game after being sidelined 10 days with a tight right hamstring.
From 2004-07, Bonderman won 50 games, including a 14-8 record, 202 strikeouts and an AL-leading 34 starts in 2006. But he had shoulder surgery in June 2008 and didn't make it back to the majors until September 2009, when he made eight appearances, all but one in relief.
The 27-year-old right-hander got out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the fourth by allowing only one run on Alberto Gonzalez's RBI groundout. He took the mound knowing Willis gave up only one run in four innings of a 5-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays in another split-squad game earlier in the day.
Martin, meanwhile, might very well have pitched his way right out of competition for the fifth spot in Washington's rotation — and all it took was one inning. After getting the first two batters out, Martin's evening went like this: single, walk, RBI single by Alex Avila, RBI ground-rule double by Scott Sizemore, two-run double by Adam Everett off third baseman Ryan Zimmerman's glove, RBI single by Brent Dlugach.
All told: five hits, five runs.
It was Martin's second start against major leaguers this spring — but first since March 4, when he threw two perfect innings against the Florida Marlins. He had one other appearance against major leaguers as a reliever, but otherwise had been working in intrasquad games.
Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said before the game he wanted to see what Martin could do against big leaguers and give him a chance to sort of steal a rotation berth from Livan Hernandez and Scott Olsen.
The 27-year-old Martin was a first-round draft choice of the Cleveland Indians in 2001, but didn't make it to the majors until last season, when he went 5-4 with a 4.44 ERA in 15 starts with Washington.
NOTES: Damon singled off Martin in the second and delivered an RBI double off Miguel Batista in the seventh. ... Magglio Ordonez also had two hits for Detroit. ... Nationals C Jesus Flores is expected to start the season on the disabled list as he continues to recover from shoulder surgery. As for when he'll be playing baseball again, Flores said: "We're not thinking about (a timetable) right now." ... RHP Mike MacDougal reported to camp a day after agreeing to terms on a minor league deal with Washington and said his surgically repaired hip is not bothering him. ... Riggleman said the Nationals are planning on having players share time in right field, rather than picking one starter. Willie Harris and Mike Morse are expected to share the job, because the team wants Justin Maxwell — who's 4 for 43 this spring, an .093 average — to see regular playing time in the minors.