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What’s left this spring?

Mar 12, 2013, 10:00 AM EDT

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Ryan Zimmerman has yet to play in the field this spring.

In only seven words, Bryce Harper yesterday probably summed up the way everyone around the Nationals feels right now.

"Can't it just be April 1st already!" the All-Star outfielder posted on his Twitter account, this after he recorded his 14th hit in 32 spring training at-bats.

Hate to break the news to you, Bryce, but there's still a ways to go before you guys can take the field at Nationals Park for Opening Day against the Marlins. On the bright side, you are inching closer to April, the longest spring training on record having now moved past the two-third mark.

The Nationals break camp 16 days from now, so the finish line is starting to come into view. They're off today, then play 17 more Grapefruit League games before finally boarding their charter flight north. (FYI: I'm heading back down to Florida later today for theRead more »

  1. MicheleS - Mar 12, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    Best news of the day, Mark is heading south.I am looking forward to seeing Gio tonight and I will be really curious as to Det's role the rest of the tournament.

  2. Doc - Mar 12, 2013 at 11:38 AM

    I'd like to think that Perry, Karns, Garcia, or all most anybody else, is a candidate for a 'call-up' starter than Mr. Ohlendorf.

  3. sjm308 - Mar 12, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    Couple of questions.1. If they do chose HRod, and I agree with Mark that he has the inside shot with no options, do we have the ability to send Abad to Syracuse? I know little about him except he was with Houston last year. I really like Kimball for that last spot but I do understand he can be sent down.2. Hasn't Maya had a decent enough spring to be mentioned as that #6 starter? I realize he has failed the last two years but he is still someone who has started in the big leagues and I have not followed this as closely as some but has he had a horrible outing so far? I realize he will be at Syracuse to start the year but if Young signs with another team I think I would prefer to see what Maya can do rather than jerk Duke out of his role in the pen. Hope everyone at spring training or still going has a wonderful time. Looks like we are back to building fires and drinking Irish Coffee (although I do the latter pretty much all year).Go Nats!!

  4. sjm308 - Mar 12, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    I thought they released Ohlendorf. Really hurt our teams chances in MLB Jeopardy but not so much on the mound. Seriously, how many teams had two Princeton graduates?

  5. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 12, 2013 at 11:55 AM

    Ohlendorf is still with the club. It was Ohlman that got axed.

  6. Steady Eddie - Mar 12, 2013 at 12:02 PM

    It was Will Ohman, NJ, but yeah, same difference. Sjm, I'm pretty sure that Abad signed on a minor league deal with a ST invite, so he should be good for AAA unless his contract has an opt-out, which I don't think it has.

  7. JT - Mar 12, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    Second best news of the day….The Shark injury not serious.

  8. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 12, 2013 at 12:07 PM

    That was the talk around the scouts section yesterday. Abad would go to Syracuse to start the season and act as bull pen back up depth should he continue to show well.

  9. Tcostant - Mar 12, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    Looking foward to watching Gio tonight too. To answer a board question, Det most likely will pitch in relief on Thursday.If I was the Nationals, I would ask Chris Young to accept a later opt out (like June 1st), that will at least buy some time.

  10. Section 222 - Mar 12, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    Great you're headed back down there Mark. Enjoy.If Young feels like he's ready to go, I can't imagine him hanging around in 'Cuse, even until June 1, for a few doubleheader starts and a possible injury. Major league pitchers like to pitch in the major leagues. Just ask John Lannan. Maya has failed for more than the previous two years. He may be Rizzo's worst move. Remember the hype? Maya was supposed to make us feel ok about not getting Chapman. I really hope Rizzo has a better option up his sleeve for our 6th starter in this WSOB season. It sure isn't Garcia.Really looking forward to seeing how Zim's arm has recovered. His first start in the field is going to be a big moment.

  11. NatsLady - Mar 12, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    Grades updated, basically the stats are agreeing with what you folks in Florida and Mark are saying–that Abad won't make the team going North but has a strong chance if someone else falters.Nats Lefties in Spring Traininghttp://ladyandthenats.blogspot.com/2013/02/lefties-for-hire.html

  12. Ghost Of Steve M. - Mar 12, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    Mark, safe travels to Florida! With 2 1/2 weeks left in camp, you brought up a good point on Ramos needing to show he can sweat it out for 9 innings in the squat.I will bring up another angle with the bullpen. Can Chris Young go to long-man and Zach Duke move to the lefty specialist? Henry has pitched twice. First outing he mowed through 3 AA batters in quickly. Yesterday, Henry gets through the first 2 batters quickly, gives up a single, and then quickly unravels as he HBPs the next batter and Davey yanks him.Is it prudent to try to trade Henry for a case of balls and move on while assuring that Chris Young is on the roster and can't walk?

  13. Section 222 - Mar 12, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 12, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    Ghost……the HBP by Henry was of the shirt ticking variety. If the hitter had even a little bit snugger fit, there would not have been a HBO.They have Henry on a strict pitch count and Davey was not going to exceed it.Henry's not going anywhere if he's healthy.

  15. Section 222 - Mar 12, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    As we await Zim’s first start in the field, I wanted to point out that his throwing problems didn't start with his shoulder injury last year. We all remember his abdominal injury in 2011, which caused him to miss a lot of the early part of the season. Here's an article from 2011 after Zim came back from that injury with a new throwing motion that was supposedly going to protect his core. Here's another.But his throwing problems didn’t start in 2011 either. Here's a Ladson article from 2010 on Zim's throwing problems. (This is from the period where he tried throwing sidearm pretty much all the time, even when he fielded the ball over his head.)And there's even an article from 2007 that notes his difficulties. (Yes, it's from SBF, but that makes it all the more noteworthy since he was such a cheerleader for the team.)Throwing has always been Zim's Achilles heel, and for me, it prevents him from being the Brooks Robinson of this generation. He’s played seven full seasons in the majors. Here’s the number of games played in the field (so not including games he DH’d), chances, and throwing errors in each:2006 – 157, 427, 92007 – 161, 511, 162008 – 104, 304, 102009 – 154, 459,142010 – 137, 344, 112011 – 97, 278, 82012 – 145, 379, 12By comparison, Brooks Robinson played 17 seasons between 1958 and 1975 in which he played between 134 and 163 games. (Was there a tiebreaker game in 1964?). In those seasons, he had 13 seasons of 494 or more chances and never had fewer than 431. The most throwing errors he had in any of the 17 full seasons was 6 and he had 15 seasons of 4 or less and 10 seasons of 2 or less! He had a total of 47 throwing errors in his 23 major league seasons. Zim already has 80 in 8 seasons. Great third baseman make sidearm throws on the run after scooping up a bunt or slow roller toward third. But they also need to be able to make accurate throws on routine grounders and strong, overhand throws all the way across the diamond on balls hit hard down the line. When Zim starts making those plays, we'll know his arm is back. Until then, all the happy talk in the world about how's everything's fine means nothing. But I’m sure hoping we see signs in that first start that this time the problem is solved.

  16. Ghost Of Steve M. - Mar 12, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    Section 222, you are correct on the length of time Zim's throws have been a problem but add to that his throwing got even worse last year after the team worked with him in 2011 to come more over the top with his throws.Adam LaRoche has become a "crutch" at 1st base for Zim where these bouncing throws are the rule and not the exception. The only throws LaRoche doesn't seem to handle are the "airmailed" throws.

  17. Section 222 - Mar 12, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    Right Ghost. This is based on memory alone, but I think most of Zim's throwing errors are airmailed (and no one could catch them, not even the 6'6" Adam Dunn). Many are on routine plays, which makes me wonder whether there's a mental component as well.I'm not sure it's true though that his throwing got worse last year. He had more throwing errors in 2007 and 2009 than he did last year. That's why the happy talk this spring doesn't impress me. I don't remember any discussion of a shoulder injury in 2009. But maybe the surgery will give him new confidence and solve his mental block as well.

  18. Ghost Of Steve M. - Mar 12, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    NatsJack, you were there, I wasn't, but I heard the radio call that it was a HBP and they didn't say it was a jersey scraper but it was still a pitch that came too far inside and unfortunately that pattern of pitching brings back bad memories of prior years.Was that a blip in a small sample size of 2 outings? Let's hope but Rizzo/Davey have to think of upside which was the same reason they most likely decided early on they were going to cut Lannan and get another pitcher on a 1 year contract (Haren).It has to be about upside with consistency.

  19. Ghost Of Steve M. - Mar 12, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    Section 222, Adam Dunn wasn't good at handling throws in the dirt which I believe explains a good part of 2009 errors and also some of the 2010 errors. Zim had 17 errors in both those seasons and Zim only played 137 games in the field in 2010.Zim's fielding percentage at 3rd was lowest last year at .950 and .951 in 2010.

  20. NatsLady - Mar 12, 2013 at 3:06 PM

    Nats in the WBC is updated as of this morning's game. The Netherlands was already guaranteed a spot in San Francisco, so this was just to determine matchups. Bernadina didn't play, but that's probably not significant. Their next game is March 18, so that will be a nice long rest for his wrist.222, you should set up a blog. It's not that hard (use the "dashboad" above), and you are putting up good stuff. You already have two entries, Harper's Hustle and Zimm's Throwing.Nats in the WBChttp://ladyandthenats.blogspot.com/2013/03/know-your-nats-in-wbc.html

  21. NatsLady - Mar 12, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    From Buster Olney, I asked a scout who saw [Strasburg] pitch Monday, and this is what he saw:"I thought he looked great for five innings, his fastball at 94-97 mph, with a ridiculous changeup 89-91 and hammer curveball 78-81 mph. He tired in the sixth and got hurt by an error that wasn't called an error and some walks, but he was the best pitcher I have seen this spring. His final pitching final line didn't look superb (5 1/3 innings, four hits, four runs, two walks) — and I am still not sure why he was pitching the sixth inning this early in the spring — but he was really good."It's an ESPN Insider article, but most of the article is about non-Nats stuff like Nolan Ryan's situation with Texas. http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/blog/_/name/olney_buster/id/9043126/figuring-nolan-ryan-wants-texas-rangers-mlb

  22. Doc - Mar 12, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    Dang! Impressive stats on Brooks Robinson and Zim, Section 222. Robinson was a greater fielder than I remembered. Maybe Zim beats him in the box. Time will tell.Thanks!

  23. Faraz Shaikh - Mar 12, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    I was wondering the same thing, why SS was pitching sixth inning in a ST game.

  24. Section 222 - Mar 12, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    Thanks Doc. Believe me, I'm no Brooks fanboy. (Having been a Pirates fan in the 60s and 70s reduces the probability of revering any Oriole to about nil.) But the guy was a 16 time all star, 16 time gold glove-er, and finished in the top 10 of MVP balloting six times, winning it in 1964 (that 163 game season). Yet his career slashline was .267/.322/.401, and his OPS+ was over 120 only 5 times and was 104 for his career. Zim's career slashline so far is .287/.353/ .479 and his career OPS+ is 121. So Zim definitely beats him in the box. But until he solves the throwing issue, he's no Brooks Robinson, no matter what Davey says.

  25. Section 222 - Mar 12, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    Since spring training games don't count, I didn't mind seeing Stras go out for the 6th inning. He had been very efficient up till then. Not a bad idea to stretch him out and let him face the top of their lineup for a third time. I sure hope at this point Stras won't be fazed by having a tough inning in a spring training game before he was pulled.

  26. NatsLady - Mar 12, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    You can't be sorry about this. Guess which Mets player wasn't wearing a cup?Cupshttp://gothamist.com/2013/03/12/why_baseball_players_should_wear_cu.php

  27. Anna Peregrina - Mar 12, 2013 at 4:47 PM

    Great one, Natslady!

  28. Theophilus T. S. - Mar 12, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    Robinson was a "bonus baby" during a time in which the Orioles couldn't send him to the minors. His career nos. reflect, in part, a couple of early seasons when the Orioles were frustrated w/ his slow development and uncertain as to what position he should be playing. He didn't being to come into his own until the latter part of his fifth major league season, in 1959. From 1960 through the prime years of his career (roughly, until '71-'72) he was an awesome clutch hitter. Again, at the end of his career, he tailed off until surrendering to old age in 1977.Measuring his hitting ability by his entire 23-year career does him a statistical disservice.

  29. natsfan1a - Mar 12, 2013 at 6:02 PM

    Poor Babe Valdespin. Ouch. I seem to recall the same thing happening to Willie Harris back in the day.

  30. Ghost Of Steve M. - Mar 12, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    Theo, Brooks also played through that 1960's era where the pitchers were dominant with the higher mounds.Brooks movement side to side was excellent and his reads off of the ball and the fact he played closer to the line also helped with many plays. I don't think his athleticism is close to some of the players of today. Zim plays the balls coming in better than any 3rd baseman I have ever seen.

  31. JD - Mar 12, 2013 at 6:11 PM

    Sec222Sam and i were at the game yesterday. In the 6th inning nothing was hit hard with the exception of the grounder that ate espi up.8 times out of 10 thats a double play.Stras looks great. Nothing to worry about at all with him.

  32. Theophilus T. S. - Mar 12, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    You could also say that Robinson benefited from playing w/ shortstops like Chico Carrasquel and Luis Aparicio, who allowed him to protect the line. But I don't think of him as not athletic; he just didn't look the part.

  33. peric - Mar 12, 2013 at 9:13 PM

    Zimmerman —-> First Base (gold glove within a year)Rendon —–> Third Base (gold glove within a year)The only real question is when and that seems mostly up to Anthony Rendon.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 55 44 --
ATLANTA 55 46 1.0
NEW YORK 48 53 8.0
MIAMI 47 52 8.5
PHILADELPHIA 43 57 12.5
Through Wednesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
THU: OFF
FRI: Nats at Reds, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Reds, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Reds, 1:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 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.
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