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Class A: Salem at Potomac

Jun 2, 2014, 5:08 PM EST

Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Hello from Pfitzner Stadium, home of the Class A Potomac Nationals, and for the third straight day home to left fielder Ryan Zimmerman. Yes, left fielder.

Zimmerman is once again in the outfield tonight for what should be the final appearance of his brief rehab assignment. He’s batting third, wearing No. 24 and scheduled to play all nine innings for the first time. Members of the Nationals coaching staff and front office, led by manager Matt Williams, are expected to be here to see Zimmerman with their own eyes. If all goes well, he’ll be activated off the disabled list for tomorrow’s series opener against the Phillies, returning to the lineup 7 1/2 weeks after fracturing his left thumb in Atlanta.

I’ll have some first-hand updates of Zimmerman’s at-bats and any action he sees in the field, so please check back…

Pfitzner Stadium, Woodbridge
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
Weather: Partly cloudy, 77 degrees, Wind 6 mph out to RF

POTOMAC (29-26)
2B Tony Renda
SS Stephen Perez
LF Ryan Zimmerman
DH Oscar Tejeda
1B Shawn Pleffner
RF Randolph Oduber
3B Khayyan Norfolk
CF Will Piwnica-Worms
C Pedro Severino
(RHP John Simms)

SALEM (27-28)
RF Matty Johnson
SS Mike Miller
2B Reed Gragnani
3B Ryan Dent
DH Mario Martinez
LF Kevin Heller
CF Aneury Tavarez
1B Tim Roberson
C Leonel Escobar
(RHP Pat Light)

Plate: Ben Levin
Bases: Travis Godec

7:08 p.m. — And we’re underway with a ball high from John Simms to Matty Johnson, as a familiar looking guy wearing an unfamiliar No. 24 jersey watches from 275 feet away in left field. This is going to take some getting used to.

7:33 p.m. — No action for Zimmerman in left field in the top of the first, but he made the most of his first at-bat of the night. Zim roped a 1-0 pitch from right-hander Pat Light to right field for a solid single. He then went first to third on Shawn Pleffner’s single to left, taking the extra base when Kevin Heller bobbled the ball. He’s wearing something that looks kind of like a mini oven mitt on his right hand, protecting that thumb from being re-injured. Potomac leads 1-0 after one.

7:55 p.m. — Three defensive innings in the books, and the only analysis I can offer about Zimmerman is this: He looks fine jogging back and forth from the dugout to his spot in left field. Hasn’t had anything hit his way yet, aside from a bloop foul ball behind third base that he sort of went after even though he had no chance of making the play.

8:01 p.m. — In his second at-bat of the night, Zim smoked a drive to deep right-center. It was caught by Aneury Tavarez just short of the warning track, but in the bigger picture, that’s a good sign. When Zimmerman is going well at the plate, he hits balls exactly like that: line drives to center and to the right of center field. Still 1-0 P-Nats after three.

8:30 p.m. — We are heading to the bottom of the fifth here, the P-Nats now trailing 2-1 after Salem scored a pair off Simms in the top of the inning. One of those was a home run way over the left-field fence, the only ball hit anywhere near Zimmerman so far tonight. I must say, he looked very natural turning around and watching that ball sail over his head. I certainly hope we actually get to see him attempt to field a ball before this game is over. Only four innings left, though.

8:46 p.m. — Breaking news! There has been a flyball to left field! Tavarez lofted one down the left-field line in the top of the sixth and Zim ranged over to make the routine catch. Nothing unusual about the play, but he looked perfectly comfortable making it.

8:50 p.m. — And in his third at-bat of the night, Zimmerman sends a flyball to right field. Got under it. So he’s 1-for-3 tonight, 4-for-13 overall on rehab. It’s 2-2 here after six.

9:32 p.m. — And in what will probably be his final at-bat of the night (and his rehab), Zimmerman records an infield single. He bounced a ball up the middle that was stopped by the shortstop, who wasn’t able to attempt a throw. So he’s 2-for-4 tonight, 5-for-14 overall. We head to the ninth with Potomac trailing 4-2, so this could be it.

9:59 p.m. — Game-tying, 2-run single in the bottom of the ninth by my man Will Piwncia-Worms! And then a walk-off single by Tony Renda. Potomac wins 5-4, and Ryan Zimmerman’s night in left field included only one defensive chance: a routine flyout in the sixth. There wasn’t even a base hit to him. He never had to make a throw with the ball in play. We’ll see what he has to say now, but I fully expect to see him at Nationals Park tomorrow night, probably in left field, against the Phillies.

  1. Doc - Jun 2, 2014 at 5:20 PM

    Glad to see that Will is still pickin’ worms.

    • Danny - Jun 2, 2014 at 5:21 PM

      That is who I need updates about.

  2. Doc - Jun 2, 2014 at 5:22 PM

    Hey Mark, how about a few action shots of our Nats’ hero???

  3. sjberke - Jun 2, 2014 at 5:25 PM

    Mark, will you treat the P-Nats beat reporter(s)?

    • Eugene in Oregon - Jun 2, 2014 at 6:07 PM


    • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jun 2, 2014 at 6:29 PM


  4. Joe Seamhead - Jun 2, 2014 at 5:31 PM

    Welcome back, MZ.

  5. natsfan1a - Jun 2, 2014 at 6:05 PM

    Go get ’em, Zimm.

  6. Eugene in Oregon - Jun 2, 2014 at 6:07 PM

    Would also welcome some thoughts on Pedro Severino.

    • veejh - Jun 2, 2014 at 7:20 PM

      Yeah, I’ve heard he’s made some big progress and is pretty high on the board for future big leaguers.

  7. 6ID20 - Jun 2, 2014 at 6:49 PM

    Will went Picking Worms in Texas and came home with a Roughened Odor.

    • Doc - Jun 2, 2014 at 10:20 PM

      It’ll happen,

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 2, 2014 at 7:12 PM

      Funny hearing Simms and Zim’s

    • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jun 2, 2014 at 7:58 PM

      Dang. 1 to Michele. Sangiovese ok?

      • sjm308 - Jun 2, 2014 at 10:08 PM

        Make sure it’s a Superiore

    • Sonny G 10 - Jun 2, 2014 at 10:11 PM

      Thanks for the link, Michele.

  8. Sec 3 My Sofa - Jun 2, 2014 at 7:56 PM

    I think the P-Nats have a radio feed via MiLB.

    Yes. Well, the Salem feed is on, but same game.

  9. Drew - Jun 2, 2014 at 8:06 PM

    Meantime, at Harrisburg:

    In the three games since some questioned the sample size, Michael Taylor has gone 5 for 10 and hit his league-leading 15th home run.

    He’s now hitting .325 with 14 stolen bases. True, he could not maintain his OPS of 1.009.

    It’s now 1.034.

    (Yes, it’s only 52 games, but if this is a mirage, it shore is purty.)

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 2, 2014 at 8:25 PM

      That’s a good sample size. That’s roughly 1/3 of a season.

      • laddieblahblah - Jun 2, 2014 at 8:37 PM

        Hey, Ghost! Have you heard that Purke has to have TJ surgery? By the time he fully recovers, he will already be out of MiL options, too.

        Any opinions on Fedde or Gatewood for the draft this week?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 2, 2014 at 8:56 PM

        I only know what I’ve read about Fedde and Hoffman. Two TJ patients. I know the Nats like it when they monitor the process start to finish on TJ. These are 2 youngsters on their own recovery track.

        I know Jacob Gatewood and would prefer the Nats look towards an athletic middle infielder who could be one of the top 3 High School position players in the Draft instead of a pitcher but I’m sure Rizzo is looking for best player available.

        Jacob is a tall thin kid who will fill out. Just not sure if he will out-grow the middle infield. Some think he could be a corner outfielder if he continues to grow.

    • laddieblahblah - Jun 2, 2014 at 8:34 PM

      Taylor has still been striking out too much, but he has shot ahead of Brian Goodwin, IMO. So have Destin Hood and Steven Souza. Souza has been hitting around .360, and that at AAA, while Taylor is still in AA.

      I can see both Taylor and Souza getting a September call-up, and Souza another trip to the bigs, if another one of the Nats outfielders goes down. Adding Zim to the OF mix will probably block any move to the bigs for Souza, otherwise.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 2, 2014 at 8:36 PM

        What’s up stranger?

      • laddieblahblah - Jun 2, 2014 at 8:38 PM

        I’ve been looking for you! Nah, I’m swamped with personal biz, but I’ll be back soon.

    • Doc - Jun 2, 2014 at 10:22 PM

      Bring him up!!

  10. Eugene in Oregon - Jun 2, 2014 at 8:39 PM

    “7:55 p.m. — Three defensive innings in the books, and the only analysis I can offer about Zimmerman is this: He looks fine jogging back and forth from the dugout to his spot in left field.”
    And that’s part of the reason he’s playing LF.

    Mark Zuckerman — if you’re reading this — How many chances has the 3B had? How many throws has he had to make?

    • laddieblahblah - Jun 2, 2014 at 8:42 PM

      Last night’s Potomac box score had Zim being thrown out at the plate trying to steal home! Maybe he should have his head examined, instead of his thumb, assuming the box score is accurate.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 2, 2014 at 8:47 PM

      He got his 1st putout. Has a single and almost a HR.

    • Mark Zuckerman - Jun 2, 2014 at 8:55 PM

      Actually, there’s only been one ball hit to third base through six innings. But your point is well-taken. There’s a reason many teams “hide” their worst defensive player in left field.

      • veejh - Jun 2, 2014 at 8:56 PM

        The man, the myth, the legend!! What up, Mark! Keep up the good work.

  11. Eugene in Oregon - Jun 2, 2014 at 8:41 PM

    “I must say, he looked very natural turning around and watching that ball sail over his head.”
    He had a lot of practice — albeit from 3B — in the 2006-2010 seasons, not to mention last season when Dan Haren was pitching.

  12. veejh - Jun 2, 2014 at 8:53 PM

    Here’s that mini story on Severino if anyone is interested…..

  13. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 2, 2014 at 9:32 PM

    Z-man with another single!

  14. stoatva - Jun 2, 2014 at 9:53 PM

    Giolito pitching in Hagerstown tomorrow evening. Wish I could go.

  15. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 2, 2014 at 10:00 PM

    PNats walkoff. Go figure.

  16. ptindc - Jun 2, 2014 at 10:11 PM

    Wonder how long it will take Renda to join Rendon on the big club?

  17. Section 222 - Jun 2, 2014 at 10:18 PM

    Anyone know how Zim’s throw in to the infield after he caught the ball looked? :-)

  18. David Proctor - Jun 2, 2014 at 10:46 PM

    Mark Zuckerman ‏@ZuckermanCSN 20s
    Zimmerman says he hasn’t been told anything yet, but he certainly sounds like he expects to play LF for #Nats tomorrow night.

  19. NatsLady - Jun 2, 2014 at 11:30 PM

    Guess we’ll say good-bye to Tyler Moore, however briefly…

  20. Eric - Jun 2, 2014 at 11:33 PM

    4th place…ooof…maybe that’s the kick in the pants we need.

    • David Proctor - Jun 2, 2014 at 11:44 PM

      We’re not in 4th place, we’re tied for 3rd. We and the Mets both are 1 game under .500 (and we own a 4-1 tiebreaker against them anyway, not that such things matter on June 2).

      • Eric - Jun 2, 2014 at 11:58 PM

        Yeah, but still, we have one fewer win than them and we’re alphabetically inferior, to boot 😉.

        In any case, it’s so tight it’s a better situation than last year, however you interpret it. Still, it stings to be tied for third with the Mets and looking up at the Fish, given how different the projections were for our teams to start the 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)...

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