- Beretta leaves Maryland over gun laws, heads for Tennessee
- Neal Boortz defends Hillary Clinton for representing child rapist
- House task force to recommend National Guard on border, faster deportations
- Top federal judge uses pizza to explain complex Obamacare situation
- Obama, Biden overhaul job training programs
- Drought-plagued Californians turn to paint to keep lawns green
- ISIL now forcing Iraqi shopkeepers to veil mannequins in Mosul
- 11 parents of Nigeria’s abducted girls die
- Genetic mapping triggers new hope on schizophrenia
- Turkish P.M. Erdogan won’t speak to Obama, but he’ll take calls from Biden
New throwing motion finally an afterthought for Zimmerman
Question of the Day
NEW YORK — The Nationals spent nine weeks at the start of the season running out a lineup that didn't include their best player.
So when Ryan Zimmerman returned to Washington's active roster June 14, six weeks after surgery to repair a torn rectus muscle in his abdomen, it was with a somewhat sore core and during the midst of a revamping of his throwing motion. But he was back.
When he first returned, though, each day he'd spend significant time before batting practice working on fielding ground balls and making throws to first base. He did it under the watchful eye of infield coordinator Jeff Garber and with the interest of an entire fan base.
It didn't go smoothly at first. Zimmerman's throwing errors began to pile up, an uncharacteristic struggle for the former Gold Glove winner. Coming shortly after the Nationals drafted third baseman Anthony Rendon with their first pick, the issue prompted somewhat rash speculation that perhaps Zimmerman's future was across the diamond at first base.
But Monday night at Citi Field, watching Zimmerman dive to his left, field a hard grounder from Justin Turner, turn completely around and make a flawless throw to first base for the out, there wasn't a hint of any uncertainty or scrutiny. Instead, it prompted his manager to compare him to former Baltimore Orioles third baseman Brooks Robinson and marvel at his ability.
"He's a magician over there," Davey Johnson said. "He's right up there [with the best I've seen]. I've never really seen a third baseman with the quickness that he has - and he's been very accurate. ... He gets a glove on just about everything. He's got tremendous hand-eye coordination and a lot of range."
Shortly after Johnson took over the Nationals, and in Zimmerman's second week back with the team, the third baseman committed a costly throwing error in Anaheim on a difficult play. There were questions then about whether Zimmerman should abandon his work on the new motion - one that incorporates his core and legs more than his old one did and can help prevent further abdominal injuries. He shot that down immediately.
"It's tough, but it's better," Zimmerman said that June afternoon. "If I thought that the way it was compared to this wasn't going to be a big difference, I wouldn't do it. But because I think it can make me a better player, that's the ultimate goal. If I didn't think it was worth it, I would maybe stop it and try to start it in the offseason. I'm so close and I've gotten so much better."
Zimmerman has committed just six errors since then, and there's no longer any question that his throwing motion is not improved.
"I don't have any problem with it," Johnson said. "I think he worries about it more than I do. I've seen all kinds of third basemen and their throwing motions. ... The great ones get it done, somehow or another, even on the most difficult plays in the world."
NOTES: Outfielder Corey Brown underwent surgery on his right knee Tuesday to clear up an infection doctors felt could develop into a staph infection. Brown was left behind on the trip to New York when the medical staff felt the infection could get worse, and that appeared the be the case Tuesday. There is a chance that Brown, who was a Triple-A call-up and has gotten three major league at-bats, could be done for the season.
"Basically the infection is under the skin, and it hasn't been cleared up," Johnson said. "I would think with [surgery] happening, he's out for the year. I'm no doctor, but I know one thing: You don't mess around with a staph infection."
c Laynce Nix (groin) still is not capable of playing the outfield or doing much more than pinch-hitting, though he is progressing.
c Roger Bernadina (hand) took batting practice Monday and Tuesday without reopening a laceration on his left hand and appears to be getting close to being game-ready again.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals and comes to The Washington Times from the Cape Cod Times and after stints with MLB.com and the Amsterdam (N.Y.) Recorder. A Massachusetts native and 2008 graduate of Boston University, Amanda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow her on Twitter @acomak.
- What will Nationals do this offseason to contend again in 2014?
- As Nationals' manager search begins, Randy Knorr the players' choice
- Davey Johnson's big-league journey ends with Nationals loss
- Team spirit and Holy Spirit — for Nationals religion looms large on and off the field
- Jordan Zimmermann falls short of 20th win as Cardinals prevail again
Latest Blog Entries
- A fond farewell, and a bit of thanks
- Nationals coaches wait in limbo as team searches for next manager
- Davey Johnson won't be in uniform for Nationals in spring training
- Tanner Roark starts season finale with youthful lineup behind him (UPDATED)
- Dan Haren, Nationals top Diamondbacks in season's penultimate game
Retailer pays a price for getting too close to Obama
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
- David Perdue defeats Jack Kingston in Georgia Republican Senate primary runoff
- 'Straight White Guy Festival' supposedly set for Ohio park
- D.C. appeals panel deals big blow to Obamacare subsidies
- Beretta moving to Tennessee over Maryland gun laws
- Pentagon team dispatched to Ukraine amid crisis with Russia
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
- EDITORIAL: A new witch hunt in Salem
- Outrage over $190M border security deal for troubled federal contractor USIS
- ISIL now forcing Iraqi shopkeepers to veil mannequins in Mosul
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq