Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman was back where he belonged for Wednesday night's game against the Miami Marlins: In the starting lineup.
After missing two games with a sore right shoulder, medicine and rest appeared to have given Zimmerman a reprieve. He spent time before batting practice in the afternoon fielding ground balls at third base and reported no problems.
"I've got through this for a while now, so you can't get too relieved. It's a constant work in progress," Zimmerman said. "It's tough. But for now, we found something that I think has a chance to work without hurting. So that's a relief. Because I want to be out there and I want to help the team win. When I can't do that, it's frustrating."
That "something" is a new three-quarters throwing motion that should take some stress off the shoulder, an arthritic condition manager Matt Williams termed "degenerative" earlier in the week. Zimmerman is moving to that motion because it's the same one he uses when he throws to second base or charges in to field balls.
"It's a good question. I don't know," Zimmerman responded when asked if this will bother him all season. "There's really no way to know. I think that's the most frustrating part. Sometimes it feels fine and sometimes it doesn't, and there's really no way to know. You wake up every morning and you don't really know either way. That's probably the toughest part of it, to be honest with you."
All parties admitted the new motion will take some practice. But right away teammate Adam LaRoche noticed more zip on Zimmerman's throws to first base. He made about 25 throws before calling it quits, also an adjustment for a player who says he likes more to go into a game feeling prepared.
"Twenty throws a day? That's still a lot. It really is," Williams said. "But it's less than he has been doing and he feels comfortable doing that. So we'll start there and see where we can go."
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