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Ryan Zimmerman will DH in early spring games

Feb 19, 2013, 11:02 PM EDT

zimmerman getty Getty Images

Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post explains:

In an effort to move [Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman] along slowly, [manager Davey Johnson] plans to use Zimmerman as a designated hitter early in the spring. He does not expect Zimmerman to be able to play defense in a game until two weeks into the Grapefruit League schedule.

Zimmerman underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right (throwing) shoulder in late October. He played catch at a distance of 75 feet on Tuesday at Nationals camp in Flordia but he isn’t ready yet to make high-pressure throws across the diamond in a game setting.

“He knows what he needs to do,” Washington manager Dave Johnson told reporters on Tuesday afternoon in camp. “If you talk to him, he’ll say he’s right on track to get where he wants to be Opening Day.”

Zimmerman, 28, batted .282/.346/.478 with 25 homers and 95 RBI in 145 games last season.

  1. cadillacjosh - Feb 20, 2013 at 2:33 AM

    Ryan Zimmerman is a fantastic offensive threat at 3rd base. But you dont want to do anything to possibly hurt his defensive abilities. He’s awesome. There is really only 2 teams I can think of that wouldn’t trade their 3rd Basemen for him.

    • Charles Gates - Feb 20, 2013 at 4:54 AM

      Without getting into contracts and dollars and thinking about it for 2013 only, the Tigers (Cabrera), Mets (Wright), Rangers (Beltre) and maybe Dodgers (Ramirez) wouldn’t trade straight up for Zimmerman.

      Taking contracts into consideration and looking at the long term, the Orioles (Machado), Blue Jays (Lawrie), Rays (Longoria, though he is probably in the first list too) and maybe even the Royals (Moustakas) wouldn’t trade straight up for Zimmerman.

      That’s not to say that he isn’t a very good third baseman. He is. I’d be interested in hearing what your list is and how it’s different than what I think.

    • natslady - Feb 20, 2013 at 6:06 AM

      Zimm’s also reportedly returning to a better throwing motion. Some of his throws (and errors) last year were as tortuous for us to watch as for him to make. He said he couldn’t feel pain, so his mind was letting him attempt what wasn’t physically possible for his body. I don’t think he had much “fun” most of the season, even with all the winning.

  2. ryanrockzzz - Feb 20, 2013 at 8:56 AM

    Always think that Zimmerman could be a really special player if he can ever stay healthy. He was much better at that last year, which helped in the Nat’s successful season. But for my Phillies sake, take allll the time away from third you want this spring.

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