Updated at 12:37 p.m.
NEW YORK — The Nationals were forced to scratch Jordan Zimmermann from today's scheduled start against the Mets when the right-hander came down with flu-like symptoms, and instead will send Tanner Roark to the mound for their 1:10 p.m. series finale at Citi Field.
Zimmermann became severely ill Wednesday night, according to manager Matt Williams. He was in the Nationals' training room this morning receiving fluids and was due to return home to Washington early on his own.
"He's got a fever," Williams said. "He was up all night throwing up. So evidently he's feeling pretty under the weather. We've had a lot of that this spring, guys feeling sick."
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The Nationals are hoping Zimmermann will feel well enough to start Friday's home opener against the Braves, but they don't know yet whether he'll be able to pitch.
No. 5 starter Taylor Jordan wouldn't be available to start in Zimmermann's place because he threw a simulated game Tuesday in an attempt to line him up for his first scheduled start of the season Sunday. Thus, if Zimmermann isn't better, Williams said he'll have to use a member of his bullpen (most likely Ross Detwiler) to start against Atlanta.
Detwiler, a starter most of his career who was converted to a reliever only two weeks ago in a somewhat controversial decision, has yet to appear in a game and thus was supposed to pitch at some point in Thursday's series finale against the Mets. Now, though, Williams will need to hold the left-hander back in case he's needed to start Friday.
"If [Zimmermann] isn't ready to go tomorrow, then that's going to have to be our option, because Taylor wouldn't be full-rest tomorrow," the manager said. "But we'll see how it goes. Get him some good fluids today, get him back home and get him rested up. But he's feeling bad."