Ryan Zimmerman is excited to be on the other side of Jon Lester's pitches

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Kevin Brown
·3 min read
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Ryan Zimmerman is excited to have Jon Lester on his side now originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Aside from his rookie season, Ryan Zimmerman has had to face Jon Lester practically every season he's been with Washington. Fresh off both signing one-year deals with the Nationals, however, Zimmerman is happy to finally be watching other batters have to deal with Lester's antics. 

"Obviously competed against him for years and years. I'm excited to be his teammate because when he's on the other side," Zimmerman told The Sports Junkies while letting out an exasperated cry, "he's tough, he kind of makes you angry. He pitches, he nibbles a little bit, then he comes at you. He complains about balls and strikes all the time. He's one of those guys where you're like, 'Ah!'"

Unlike Mr. National, Lester hasn't played for just one team his entire MLB career. Most recently having plied his trade for the past six seasons with the Cubs, Washington is the fourth city in which Lester will play. Sporting a career ERA of 3.60 and sitting just three strikeouts from 2,400, the 37-year-old will bring a wealth of experience and capability to the Nats bullpen. 

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"But man, you can't argue with his body of work," Zimmerman said. "I think what he's done in his career, like myself is towards the end of his career, but mentally and knowing how to pitch, I don't know if you can have a better four, or if you consider him a five starter. I mean, it's just a number in our rotation."

As someone with not only a no-hitter to his name, but also having pitched the final outs of the 2007 World Series for Boston before winning another title there in 2013 and for Chicago in 2016, Lester has shown he can produce when it matters most. 

"Then you talk about what he can do in the postseason. You know, a guy every time he's been in the postseason that's done nothing but good things and just the experience and veteran leadership and that calming presence he brings to the team," Zimmerman said. "I'm excited to get to know him as a person and be a teammate with him and pick his brain on a couple things."

RELATED: Jon Lester on choosing Nationals over Cubs: ‘Sometimes you need to move on’

Lester wasn't the only player Zimmerman is excited to get to know, as he also spoke to "The Junkies" about his admiration for Washington's new starting first baseman, Josh Bell. 

"We needed a big middle-of-the-order guy, and he definitely fits that," Zimmerman said. "He was an All-Star, he had 30-plus home runs, over 100 RBIs, so he knows how to drive in runs. You need someone to hit behind Juan (Soto), protect Juan, protect Trea (Turner). You can kind of move them around however you want in the top of the order. So, he's going to have a lot of chances to drive in runs."

Already outspoken about his willingness to take a limited role behind Bell, Zimmerman's class was always going to help Bell integrate to his new team. 

"I'm going to do everything I can to help him fit in and feel comfortable. Hopefully he plays a bunch of games and hits 30-plus runs for us because that means we're winning," Zimmerman said. "I'm here to play on the days he doesn't play, maybe get some pinch-hits, play some defense at the end. I'm excited to watch him play, I've obviously seen him play in Pittsburgh for the last few years and talked to him at first base a little bit, seems like an awesome guy."