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Zimmerman to play LF at Potomac

May 31, 2014, 10:59 AM EDT

Zimmerman on shoulder: "It's nothing"

We’ve seen him take fielding practice before games, we’ve talked about it for weeks, but tonight is the night Ryan Zimmerman will actually play left field in a live game.

Zimmerman will continue his minor league rehab assignment with the Single-A Potomac Nationals Saturday night by playing five innings in left field. After having four at-bats as a designated hitter the night before, it’s time to see what he has at a new position.

“Tonight he’ll play five innings in left field,” manager Matt Williams said. “The plan is that he’ll play five innings tonight of defense. He had four at-bats last night DH-wise, so he’s going to have to get back in the field and play.”

Zimmerman has been out since April 12 when he broke his right thumb sliding into second base in a game against the Braves. He is currently working towards a Tuesday return when the Nationals take on the Phillies.

Zimmerman has been practicing in left field during batting practice for some time now, and recently received instruction from Nats’ first base coach Tony Tarasco, who works with the outfielders. Zimmerman has never played the position in a professional game, but Williams believes the former Gold Glove third baseman is prepared enough to try it.

“He’s ready, Williams said. “He’s done a lot of work out there, you still have to do it though. He’s ready to go.”

Though Zimmerman will be playing on the same side of the field as he does as a third baseman, playing outfield will certainly bring a different dynamic defensively. He has been diligent in learning the position in practice, but doing it in an actual game will certainly be different.

“There’s no way to get true, real line drive-type balls. Even in batting practice you can’t really simulate it,” Williams said. “That’s the difference, balls coming off the bat differently, certainly with more authority. Ball comes off the bat harder, quicker movements, but he’s ready for that.”

Zimmerman went 0-for-3 with an RBI on a sacrifice fly in Potomac’s 5-4 win over Salem on Friday.

  1. Sonny G 10 - May 31, 2014 at 11:19 AM

    I had to make a transition from infield to outfield when I was a freshman in high school because of senior players entrenched in the infield. I made it with no difficulties so I know Ryan can do it also.

    • snerdblurter - May 31, 2014 at 1:06 PM

      Was your throwing arm also attached to your shoulder with paper clips and bubble gum?

      • Sonny G 10 - May 31, 2014 at 4:19 PM

        Actually, I must admit, I was completely healthy and was blessed with a strong throwing arm.

  2. Doc - May 31, 2014 at 1:59 PM

    Soooooooooo, I gues TyMo gets the boot, when RZim’s limo pulls up to the stadium.

    • senators69 - May 31, 2014 at 3:28 PM

      Maybe, but I hope TyMo gets some ABs this year. Need to see if he could do it as a main bench guy.
      OR: Could Zim play 2nd base? Would that be easier on his arm?
      We got a big batting hole at 2nd base.

  3. Ghost of Steve M. - May 31, 2014 at 2:08 PM

    All interesting how Ryan’s work in the outfield wasn’t some conditioning drill. The BS sucked in even Mark Z. Goes back to Ryan’s own words in that Spring Training interview about his “telling lies”.

    • Doc - May 31, 2014 at 2:48 PM

      That’s why there are NIs—-counter act the BS!

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 31, 2014 at 3:00 PM

        Yep, and it was only Kilgore surprisingly who was sticking to his source that said it was going to happen that Ryan would play some LF.

      • zmunchkin - May 31, 2014 at 4:01 PM

        Kilgore is much better than most folks give him credit for.

  4. Sec 3 My Sofa - May 31, 2014 at 9:44 PM

    So, how’d it go? Anybody here see it tonight?

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