Skip to content

Zim finishes spring with only 2 innings at first base

Mar 27, 2014, 12:50 PM EST

USA Today Sports Images USA Today Sports Images

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — For all the talk this winter and this spring about a position switch for Ryan Zimmerman, the Nationals veteran wound up spending only two innings at first base in Grapefruit League play this year.

Even so, manager Matt Williams said he’s prepared to use Zimmerman at first base once the season begins, if the situation calls for it.

“I’m comfortable with him over there,” Williams said. “He’s fine. If, in fact, we have to go that route, we can.”

Though his only game action at first base came late in the Nationals’ March 16 game against the Tigers, Zimmerman has been spending plenty of time working at the new position, taking grounders and throws many mornings. He worked out at first base this morning, in fact, prior to the Nationals’ Grapefruit League finale against the Mets at Tradition Field.

“His footwork is great,” Williams said. “He’s done a lot of work that hasn’t been seen, because it’s on a back field. Early stuff. He’s good.”

Zimmerman may be comfortable enough to play first base in a big-league game, but the Nationals may not use him there as much as originally planned. Kevin Frandsen, acquired yesterday to serve as a utilityman off the bench, has experience at first base, and Williams suggested today the 31-year-old could be used there as Adam LaRoche’s primary backup.

“I think the main part of my thought process was just to make sure if, in fact, we got in a situation, we had somebody to play over there,” the manager said. “Now that Kevin is here, he certainly has experience. Zim has less experience. But I’m not afraid to [use Zimmerman]. He’s a fantastic athlete. He catches everything. If it calls for it, and we want to do that, we all feel comfortable we could accomplish that.”

Zimmerman was not in the Nationals’ lineup for their final spring training game. Williams said he is dealing with stomach soreness, the result not of an injury but of an illness. Zimmerman, who has been wearing an ice pack around both his stomach and right shoulder in recent days, is expected to play in Saturday’s exhibition game against Detroit at Nationals Park.



  1. NatsNut - Mar 27, 2014 at 1:21 PM

    Bringing forward from previous post…

    Add me to the list of people (or person) who are worried about Zimmerman. Disregarding what *words* MW uses to tell us what’s wrong, the actions seem to indicate another problem. His shoulder was barking a week or two ago, he’s still air-mailing throws and they suddenly, at the last minute, get a right-handed hitter who can play first and third. And now ice on his abdomen too? Something’s wrong.

    • Eric - Mar 27, 2014 at 1:44 PM

      Assuming it’s true that he’s out with a stomach bug, I’m not all that concerned. I think Frandsen is just a solid insurance policy in the event of injury pretty much anywhere on the diamond.

      IMO, the “pecking orders” for the infield is:
      1B: LaRoche, Frandsen, Zim
      2B: Rendinosa (I’m not at all convinced one way or the other), Frandsen
      SS: Desi, Espi, Frandsen
      3B: Zim, Rendon, Frandsen

      Assuming Frandsen is adequate, we have a lot of workable permutations with Frandsen in the mix.

      • Eric - Mar 27, 2014 at 1:45 PM

        Oh, but I didn’t finish this article first…the last line is certainly not comforting…
        Zimmerman, who has been wearing an ice pack around both his stomach and right shoulder in recent days, is expected to play in Saturday’s exhibition game against Detroit at Nationals Park.

      • natinalsgo - Mar 27, 2014 at 1:59 PM

        He has me almost as worried as Nick Johnson used to. These stories send me in a tizzy I tell ya!

        Wrap him in bubble wrap.

      • NatsNut - Mar 27, 2014 at 2:13 PM

        “Assuming it’s true…”

        That’s the key phrase right there. History tells us it’s useless to assume we get the truth. There is no real benefit to the team or the player to tell us the full truth so just assume we are only getting enough information to shut us (i.e., fans, media) up.

        It’s also why all the arguments about the team’s medical staff are silly. They only look incompetent because of what they *tell us* not what they actually know. But that’s a different argument.

      • Eric - Mar 27, 2014 at 2:49 PM

        A strong +1 from me re: the medical staff comments, NatsNut, especially after everything that’s gone down with pitchers this spring.

      • DaveB - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:47 PM

        It’s that ice pack around the right shoulder that has me more worried than the stomach bug … nobody’s talking about what, or how bad, that is all about.

  2. natinalsgo - Mar 27, 2014 at 1:57 PM

    Matty used the words “have to”. I would think “want to” in days you rest ALR since Frandsen has experience at 1st he could be the 1st choice now.

  3. vannordens - Mar 27, 2014 at 5:14 PM

    Watch Zimm throw. Does that look strong and accurate to you? Not to me. Looks the same as last year. How may throwing errors that cost games will Williams allow?.

  4. Sonny G 10 - Mar 27, 2014 at 8:34 PM

    You can tell by the way Ryan is throwing the ball to first base that he is feeling discomfort. Awful glad we hung on to Espi. We may really need him this season.





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 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: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at Click here for past audio clips.

Follow us on Twitter