Skip to content

Matt Williams removed Ryan Zimmerman from last night’s game for defensive reasons

Jul 3, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT

ryan zimmerman getty Getty Images

Bryce Harper‘s return to the Nationals outfield meant Ryan Zimmerman had to shift from left field back to third base, where he was once a standout defender and is now a huge question mark because of chronic shoulder problems.

And last night manager Matt Williams removed Zimmerman from the game with a 4-3 lead in the eighth inning for defensive reasons, putting into focus the third baseman’s throwing issues and what the Nationals are truly dealing with going forward.

Williams shifted Anthony Rendon from second base to third base, where he played regularly when Zimmerman was in the outfield, and brought Danny Espinosa off the bench to play second base.

Asked afterward about the move, Williams told James Wagner of the Washington Post: “At that point, we want our finest defense in there. We want to make sure that in a tight game like that we do that.”

For his part, Zimmerman called it “the right move” and added:

I’m still getting used to playing third again. Like I’ve said the whole time, Anthony has played the hell out of third base and Danny is one of, if not the best, defensive second basemen in the game. If we’re up late in the game, I have no problem doing that. I think it gives us the best chance to win.

So expect to see Zimmerman removed from games in the late innings regularly, which would have sounded crazy just a couple years ago and still seems a little bit weird considering he’s one of the Nationals’ building blocks and owed another $86 million through 2019.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $25,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Thursday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $5,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on ThursdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Latest Posts
  1. The Blue Jays are interested in Jeff Samardzija

    Jul 3, 2015, 3:52 PM EDT

    Jeff Samardzija AP

    Both he and the White Sox have disappointed this year, but he could help a contender.

  2. The Tigers have designated Joba Chamberlain and Tom Gorzelanny for assignment

    Jul 3, 2015, 3:11 PM EDT

    Joba Chamberlain Getty Images

    Chamberlain has posted a 4.09 ERA and an ugly 1.682 WHIP in 30 appearances this year. Gorzelanny has been even worse.

  3. Travis Ishikawa designated for assignment by the Giants. Again.

    Jul 3, 2015, 2:05 PM EDT

    travis ishikawa getty Getty Images

    He’s only had six plate appearances since being recalled in late June.

  4. Yovani Gallardo extended his scoreless innings streak to 29 and a third

    Jul 3, 2015, 9:11 AM EDT

    Yovani Gallardo Getty Images

    He has a 2.56 ERA and a 72/31 K/BB ratio over 102 innings on the season.

  5. The Braves get a walkoff win against Max Scherzer

    Jul 3, 2015, 8:30 AM EDT

    Cameron Maybin Getty Images

    He wasn’t hit hard, but the Braves hit ’em where they weren’t.

  6. Settling the Scores: Thursday’s results

    Jul 3, 2015, 6:38 AM EDT

    Scott Kazmir Getty Images

    Scott Kazmir dominated the Mariners last night.

  7. Dodgers designate Brandon League for assignment

    Jul 2, 2015, 11:28 PM EDT

    LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 08:  Pitcher Brandon League #43 of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks on during the game against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium on April 8, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images) Getty Images

    League hasn’t pitched in the majors this season due to a shoulder injury.

  8. Reds GM Walt Jocketty says he’s not trading Todd Frazier

    Jul 2, 2015, 10:39 PM EDT

    PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 25:  Todd Frazier #21 of the Cincinnati Reds on deck in the seventh inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on June 25, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) Getty Images

    The Reds are expected to be sellers, but GM Walt Jocketty said Thursday that third baseman Todd Frazier isn’t going anywhere.

  9. Matt Boyd pulled from start after failing to record an out against the Red Sox

    Jul 2, 2015, 9:23 PM EDT

    TORONTO, CANADA - JULY 2: Matt Boyd #46 of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts after giving up a three-run home run in the first inning during MLB game action to David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox on July 2, 2015 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) Getty Images

    After pitching into the seventh inning in his major league debut against the Rangers last Saturday, Blue Jays left-hander Matt Boyd failed to record an out in his start tonight against the Red Sox.

  10. Freddie Freeman won’t return from wrist injury before All-Star break

    Jul 2, 2015, 8:26 PM EDT

    NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 14:  Freddie Freeman #5 of the Atlanta Braves in action against the New York Mets at Citi Field on June 14, 2015 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Braves 10-8.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Freeman hopes to return right after the All-Star break, but he acknowledges that it’s a “best-case scenario.”

  11. Archie Bradley has no structural damage in shoulder

    Jul 2, 2015, 7:28 PM EDT

    Archie Bradley Archie Bradley

    Bradley has been out for a month with right shoulder tendinitis.

  12. Cardinals place Jon Jay on disabled list with nagging wrist injury

    Jul 2, 2015, 6:31 PM EDT

    cD05ODdlNmNhY2MwMjRlZWQzNTJhM2ViYTQ1Y2VlY2YzOCZnPTc3MGY5MjU2OTgyMDlhMTEzNjQwN2M5MDc4NTYyYTMx Getty Images

    Jay has already had one stint on the disabled list this season due to his nagging wrist injury.

  13. The Dodgers sign Trevor Cahill

    Jul 2, 2015, 5:02 PM EDT

    Trevor Cahill AP

    Cahill was designated for assignment by the Braves earlier this month after allowing 23 runs in 26 innings.

  14. Breaking: Cardinals fire their scouting director, likely due to the Astros hacking scandal

    Jul 2, 2015, 4:29 PM EDT

    ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 3:  Seats sit empty prior to a game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium on June 3, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Michael Thomas/Getty Images) Getty Images

    The director, Chris Correa, has admitted to hacking into the Astros system.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. M. Moore (3770)
  2. J. Hamilton (3600)
  3. G. Stanton (3331)
  4. J. Ellsbury (3291)
  5. M. Cain (3215)
  1. H. Ramirez (3128)
  2. M. Sano (2940)
  3. B. Harper (2926)
  4. J. Fernandez (2831)
  5. S. Matz (2634)