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Beltway Baseball: Episode 2

Mar 10, 2011, 2:37 PM EDT

Being back in D.C. during the middle of spring training has its obvious disadvantages. But on the bright side, it does allow me to head over to Comcast SportsNet's studios to shoot some video segments.

Yesterday, I joined web producer Chase Hughes for the latest installment of a show we're calling "Beltway Baseball" to discuss various aspects of Nationals camp so far. Among the subjects we tackle are the overall vibe of professionalism this spring in Viera, Bryce Harper, Ross Detwiler, Nyjer Morgan and the battle for jobs in left field, the rotation and behind the plate.

The video is split into two segments, so be sure to check out Part 2 below. Also, we're going to attempt to do a live online show Tuesday at 1 p.m. More details to come, but set your mental clocks now to join us next week…Read more ยป

  1. Steve M. - Mar 10, 2011 at 3:30 PM

    I am getting really ticked with the Ryan Zimmerman injury situation. He is sitting out again today which is 5 days and just is typical every time he has an injury. They always play down the injury and then he talks in terms of "we" will do this and "we" will do that and if this was the regular season I would be playing, blah, blah, blah. Sorry, I ain't buying it.This is an oblique/abdominal strain similar to what ailed him at the end of 2010 where he missed the final 10 games. At the beginning of 2010 it was his hamstring, in Spring Training 2010 it was spasms. Before that it was his shoulder, and before that it was something else.This guy IS the franchise player. He needs to change his off-season routine and conditioning program because it isn't fully working and then when this team is ready to make a push for the playoffs, they can't be without Zim.The training staff needs to make sure he is properly stretched out and his hamstrings and obliques aren't cooled down where you get most of those pulls.Very disappointed to hear the same story of Zim explaining another injury. Pathetic.

  2. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 10, 2011 at 3:46 PM

    Steve M…. It's friggin raining cats and dogs down here. I'll be shocked if they get the game in. lighten up a little bit, will you. We've got three more weeks of (for Zim) meaningless games.

  3. JD - Mar 10, 2011 at 3:54 PM

    Steve M. You really worry Waaay too much about spring training games. Most team's regulars don't even travel to road ST games. What are you worried about? he is not fighting for a job; he will be one of the top players in the game again this year. Relax !!

  4. N. Cognito - Mar 10, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    Why didn't someone tell me it's Irrational Rant Day. ;^)

  5. Steve M. - Mar 10, 2011 at 4:12 PM

    NatsJack and others, I'll lighten up a little bit but not much. Sometimes, things need to be said that will ruffle a few feathers.Up here in Washington, it has been going on with Ovechkin and his off-season program too and people are pissed. Overall, it hasn't fully affected Zim, but the time is now to relook at how you condition yourself and be accountable to your team and the fanbase.For Zim, the games may be meaningless in ST but he is only 26 years old not 36. Soft tissue and muscle injuries and others like this are preventable. That is the point.

  6. HabsProf - Mar 10, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    Mark: I enjoyed the videos, but where else can I find more stuff from you? The agreement with CSNWashington has had you back in DC but this is the first thing I've found from you since you came back. What have they had you doing? What am I missing and where can I find it?I need my regular Nats fix.

  7. Mark Zuckerman - Mar 10, 2011 at 4:24 PM

    HabsProf: Thanks. I've written a few things for CSNwashington.com since I got back to town, including an Adam LaRoche story that ran on Monday. Working on a Jerry Hairston story right now that will be posted this afternoon. Anything Nats-related that I write for CSN, I'll post a link to here. I'm also doing some Caps coverage for them. Covered last night's game against the Oilers and will be covering games tomorrow night and Sunday afternoon.Here's a link to my Caps story from last night…http://www.csnwashington.com/03/09/11/Ovechkin-Holtby-lead-Capitals-past-Oiler/landing.html?blockID=437044&feedID=8621And here's my LaRoche story from earlier this week if you missed it…http://www.csnwashington.com/03/07/11/LaRoche-just-wants-to-be-himself/landing_v3.html?blockID=434804&feedID=5685

  8. Mark'd - Mar 10, 2011 at 4:25 PM

    Steve's rant is spot on for most of it. To JD, stop with the bit about its just Spring Training. There is a great saying in sports "practice how you are going to play".

  9. Anonymous - Mar 10, 2011 at 4:28 PM

    Zimmy looked to be in great shape last week. Tip Top shape in the field and at the plate. Saw him hit a rocket shot hr into right center over the batting cage. Saw him charge a ball and snap off a crisp throw to first. No worries about Zimmerman's condition. Just enjoy watching Hairston and Gonzalez practice at third. Zimmy needs a break every now and then during the season or else he will wear down in August.

  10. Anonymous - Mar 10, 2011 at 4:33 PM

    Mark Z– Can you give us some insight into what the Nats are thinking about Chien Ming Wang at this point. He seems to have disappeared.

  11. PAY TO PLAY - Mar 10, 2011 at 4:44 PM

    JD said…You really worry Waaay too much about spring training games. ________________JD, there are 7 to 10 guys looking at Spring Training as a tryout for a spot and the alternative is called the Minor Leagues. I don't think I would tell Cora or Stairs not to worry or Stammen or Detwiler.Bryce Harper has the right type of attitude and it is so refreshing to hear it from an 18 year old because some of the rest are just Waaay too comfortable with losing and keeping the status quo.

  12. HabsProf - Mar 10, 2011 at 4:47 PM

    Mark – Thanks. I'd caught the LaRoche story. I did not know that CSN was having you cover other sports besides baseball and the Nats. That explains it. Guess I got spoiled before with the regular/daily articles about the teamm when you were in Florida.So if you are also covering hockey, what did you think of the Chara hit on Pacioretty? Did the NHL get it right with the non-suspension? What is the general consensus (if any) of other reporters at CSN?

  13. NatsNut - Mar 10, 2011 at 4:54 PM

    Mark,I hate to say it, but with you gone from Viera, Kilgore is fast becoming my first go-to page again (after you stole me from him) and I'm going there with much more frequency that, until now, was primarily reserved for this site. I hate that I came here just to say this and not necessarily look for new content, but maybe you and CSN should know this.

  14. Doc - Mar 10, 2011 at 4:58 PM

    I'd be interested in reading some comments from our contributors on the Tom Verucci SI.com article (and subsequent fall-out articles) on SS's motion and delivery as a contribututing factor to his UCL injury.Although SS's injury quite probably, over time, came out of his delivery mechanics, IMHO changing his delivery at this stage has more negatives than positives.Going forward, as long as SS contiues to consistently strengthen his shoulder, along with his other work-out routines, then he should have a great career. It's quite possible that had SS's shoulder been better conditioned, even with his mechanical delivery flaws, he could have avoided UCL injury.

  15. Pete - Mar 10, 2011 at 4:58 PM

    I saw Zimmerman working out in a gym with the rest of us peasants this offseason.

  16. Steve M. - Mar 10, 2011 at 5:00 PM

    Anonymous said… Zimmy looked to be in great shape last week. Tip Top shape in the field and at the plate. Zimmy? How can I take you serious when you start your post out like that. Sure, he LOOKED to be in great shape last week and bam, injury so I guess he wasn't really in great shape.

  17. Steve M. - Mar 10, 2011 at 5:07 PM

    Pete, we all know Zim works out hard, but this is more about conditioning, stretching and staying free of injury.I mean come on this is September with an oblique/abdominal injury and right back to another one in the first few weeks of ST.He needs to change something in his routine which is what this is about, not about that he doesn't work hard or doesn't work out.

  18. Tim - Mar 10, 2011 at 5:15 PM

    While Zim is out I'd rather see Morse get reps at 3B. He'd be the best offensive replacement for an injured Zim.

  19. Rabbit - Mar 10, 2011 at 5:37 PM

    The lack of articles from Mark Z has me searching for Nats info also. I was spoiled getting a few a day from Mark and now very little. I guess a contract is a contract. Hopefully when the season begins we'll hear more from you Mark. I feel kind of let down.

  20. JD - Mar 10, 2011 at 5:39 PM

    Pay to Play,I agree with you completely; guys fighting for jobs are in a tryout mode and must perform; in my view there are 4 open spots (1 of Ankiel, Nix or Stairs 1 of Ramos or Flores and 2 bullpen spots) and there are about 7 to 10 players fighting for these spots.My point is that I don't really care about results in ST for people like Zim, Werth etc because they have a body of work to go on; we know what they can do.My other point is that results in ST are not meaningful because every team uses players from many different levels so sometimes a major leaguer goes up against a AA player or vice versa; also the sample sizes are way to small to draw any conclusions.

  21. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Mar 10, 2011 at 5:42 PM

    @Steve M: What, exactly, does Ovechkin's situation have to do with Zimmerman?Last time I looked, Zimmerman wasn't the point man on the Caps' dreadful power play.If I were you, I'd pop a cold one, elevate your feet, and just chill to Opening Day. Just saying.

  22. Anonymous - Mar 10, 2011 at 5:45 PM

    because some of the rest are just Waaay too comfortable with losing and keeping the status quo.Its like "good cop" "bad cop". Riggleman leaves it to Rizzo to "send that message" through releases in the offseason, demotions to the minors, trades to places well like Texas? The problem isn't with the players' complacency its with Riggleman's insistence on respecting his veterans and playing them even when a young prospect is out-playing them. He'll play a preferred AAAA veteran over a superstar prospect.

  23. erocks33 - Mar 10, 2011 at 5:57 PM

    Ok, let's see. The Nats past few games were:Sat @ NYY — Zim played and went 2-3 with two doubles (even though it was at the Yankees complex and most veterans don't travel all the time, MLB encourages that a couple of vets do make the occasional trek for the sake of the fans. Plus, who wouldn't want to play the Yankees, even if it is "just ST"?Sun vs ATL — DNPMon vs HOU — Zim played and went 1-3 with a HRTue @ NYM — DNP(another away game. chances were he wasn't going to make this trip even if he was healthy)Wed @ FLA — DNP(once again, another away game)Thu vs NYM — DNP(third game in a row he's not playing?! OMG, let's all freak out! Wait, reports are that it's been raining all morning down in Viera and that the field may not be in 100% condition?! Why are we coddling players like Zim? Why should we be cautious in an early ST game, when for all intents and purposes this is a meaningless game?) Look, I think all players should get into as many ST games as possible, but if it means playing them while hurt, or while recovering, or when the field isn't 100%, then I'm fine for sitting them for 3 games. Remember, two of them were away games and one is weather-related. No biggie … Now if he's on the Jesus Flores-2009-day-to-day calendar, then I'll be worried/angry.

  24. Steve M. - Mar 10, 2011 at 5:57 PM

    SBCITPFM – See you aren't me, I'm on a drug called SteveM. LOL (reference to Charlie Sheen for added humor since this is getting way to serious)See, I call them as I see them. Zim has now the same type of recurring injury and if he gets complacent and doesn't address these issues, it will be a lot worse than missing 20 games in a season. The comparison to Ovechkin is the guy is the king and has been called out time and time again this season. Nobody should be above a little helpful criticism and giving Zim a free pass all the time isn't the right thing to do. His injury situation needs to be addressed proactively.

  25. Theophilus - Mar 10, 2011 at 6:06 PM

    "Superstar prospects?" Other than Harper, of whom, exactly, are you speaking? I don't see anyone here but us chickens. Based, even, on what little we've seen in the first two weeks, Cora and Stairs are capable of helping the Nats win games. (Not saying, necessarily, they should make the team, but there's no hotshot middle infielder wasting away in Syracuse, either. And Gonzalez isn't likely to be named to the All-Star team, either.)Lot of people seem to have awakened in the poison ivy patch this morning . . ..

  26. Anonymous - Mar 10, 2011 at 6:07 PM

    You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall — you need me on that wall. We use words like "honor," "code," "loyalty." We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punch line. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather that you just said "thank you" and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand the post. Either way, I don't give a DAMN what you think you're entitled to!

  27. Steve M. - Mar 10, 2011 at 6:10 PM

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/nationalsjournal/2011/03/bryce_harper_is_feeling_hitter.html#commentsFun read about Bryce Harper. This kid will make A ball real interesting!

  28. Theophilus - Mar 10, 2011 at 6:16 PM

    As to Zimmerman, this gripe comes on the heels of Riggleman saying Zimmerman works harder off the field than anyone on the team. As to Zimmerman, the complaint is as off base as Nyjer Morgan. However, there may be legitimate concern about the Nats' overall training regimens and medical practices. Too many injuries (half a dozen pitchers last year) seem to be revealed after the player has tried concealing the injury, gutting it out through the pain, and hurting himself and the team in the process.Why aren't the trainers and medicos picking up on these problems? It would take someone w/ more "inside" knowledge than Mark, Kilgore or Boswell, and expert outside orthopedic analysis, to assess the source of this problem.

  29. Anonymous - Mar 10, 2011 at 7:04 PM

    "Superstar prospects?" Other than Harper, of whom, exactly, are you speaking?How soon they forget? The "Superstar" might be exaggerating … still you know Riggleman's OCD tendencies when it comes to his veterans? Cristian Guzman in right field over Michael Morse. Guzman over Kennedy. Willie Harris over Michael Morse and Roger Bernadina. Justin Maxwell replacing anyone as starter? This is a guy who would definitely trot out Ron Villone over Aroldis Chapman.And you know that I'm right …

  30. Rabbit - Mar 11, 2011 at 11:43 AM

    Anonymous 1:07…..Yea, I loved that movie!!

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 88 64 --
ATLANTA 76 76 12.0
MIAMI 74 78 14.0
NEW YORK 73 80 15.5
PHILADELPHIA 70 83 18.5
x-Clinched NL East title

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON 88 64 --
LOS ANGELES 87 66 1.5
ST. LOUIS 85 68 3.5
-----------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 68 4.0 +2.0
PITTSBURGH 82 70 6.0 --
MILWAUKEE 79 74 9.5 3.5
x-Clinched division title

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

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