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Ryan Zimmerman makes spring debut

Mar 3, 2013, 8:35 PM EDT

Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves Getty Images

Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman made his spring training debut this afternoon against the Cardinals. The veteran underwent off-season surgery to fix the acromioclavicular joint in his right shoulder, which ailed him throughout most of the 2012 season. It was particularly noticeable in the first half, when Zimmerman hit eight homers and posted a .694 OPS in 308 plate appearances. The second half went much better as he hit 17 homers and posted a .945 OPS in 332 PA.

In this afternoon’s outing, Zimmerman singled once in three at-bats but did not play the field, instead slotting in the lineup as the Nationals’ designated hitter. MLB.com’s Joey Nowak expects this to be the case going forward:

He’ll likely be in the lineup only as a designated hitter every other day, alternating with rehabbing catcher Wilson Ramos, for a few more weeks until Zimmerman builds up throwing strength.

Zimmerman kept himself in the lineup last season by getting a cortisone shot at the end of June, helping lead the Nationals to an NL East crown. He hit .381 with two home runs in the post-season against the St. Louis Cardinals. It is expected that the third baseman will be ready by Opening Day as the Nationals resume their quest for NL dominance.

  1. sleepyirv - Mar 3, 2013 at 10:12 PM

    I remember when there was a big discussion if Zimmerman would still be around by the time the Nats became competitive. I’m glad for Washington and him how things turned out.

    • natstowngreg - Mar 4, 2013 at 10:47 AM

      Yes, it seemed at the time that the Lerners weren’t inclined to spend the cash to keep their best player. And it wasn’t clear whether Zimmerman wanted to stay. My sense was that Ryan was not been all that comfortable being the face of the Washington Nationals. Just not his style.

      His first contract extension (along with the big offer to Mark Teixeira) was an early sign that the Lerners might be willing to spend after all. Now, that’s not much of an issue. Meanwhile, Ryan Zimmerman has a winning team around him, is on his second contract extension, and has teammates (Young Messrs. Harper and Strasburg) to share the spotlight. My impression now is, he’s enjoying life as a Nat.

  2. cousineddy - Mar 4, 2013 at 2:49 AM

    He’s a solid player, but how long till they trade him and bring up Rendon

    • voteforno6 - Mar 4, 2013 at 7:33 AM

      He’s got a no-trade clause.

    • natstowngreg - Mar 4, 2013 at 10:36 AM

      Down the road (hard to say when that will be), there are a couple of possibilities:

      1. Zimmerman moves to 1B, Rendon takes over at 3B. Unlikely to happen for at least a couple of seasons, with Adam LaRoche at 1B.

      2. Rendon takes over at 2B, Danny Espinosa is traded. Espinosa is a fine defensive 2B but, if his hitting doesn’t improve, he could be moved to make way for Rendon’s bat. Rendon has been working at 2B. If he shows acceptable defense there, and can avoid further injuries, wouldn’t rule this out for 2014.

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