Nationals Baseball: Injury Update - Only Zimm edition

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Injury Update - Only Zimm edition

Tuesday was a fun day in a Spring Training in desperate need of a fun day.  Zimmerman's "Spring Abstaining" reached its head as we finally got a public blitz in response to the increasing interest in why this guy wasn't playing any games . Articles from the Post and Zuckerman and Martinez & Zimm on the radio.

The story was consistent. No injuries. He just hates Spring Training and wants to do it his way and Martinez was ok with letting him try it. He says it came about organically as they tried to slowly work him into playing shape after feeling some general post-break soreness at the start.

Is this really what has gone on? Eh. It sort of ignores the whole "one major league Spring game" issue which seems a funny thing to do. It sort of ignores the fact that this doesn't seem like something done before and if you let someone do this "just because" then it opens up a can of worms. There's the fact that no reporter has apparently seen him play the field or run*

I suppose you can ignore those things but then there are other little things that seem funny. Like Zimm catching some throws at first while wearing what look like supportive sneakers? Or the story Zimm tells in that MASN interview about Eaton saying Thome never played in Spring Training when the two were teammates on the White Sox, but the two were never actually, you know, teammates on the White Sox, Thome having retired before Adam ever got to Chicago.**

So I have a hard time buying it but it's plausible I guess.

And even if I do buy it - there are other issues, like possibly the worst fielding first baseman in the NL thinking that getting half-hearted minor league field work is enough?

What I think is he felt something - a twinge, a pain, something - in his feet and the team and him didn't want to take any chances. So they limited him to as much work as he could possibly do while also resting those tootsies. This fits with the evidence. But this is just me saying something and in the end it's nothing more than a guess.  And even with everything said above the end point we reach is "Don't really care as long as he's fine on Opening Day" The problem I have, in the end, isn't with the team or Zimm - who are fine playing him as much or as little as they need and telling us what they want to, but with the beats for taking about 2 weeks longer than necessary to write the "The team says he's ok, but there are reasons to be suspicious" column. 

But it's out there now and we move onto the "Now Play!" phase of this story. Apparently this weekend it'll happen. We'll see.

*Plenty of shots of him doing BP and mentions of him shagging flies. However a plantar fascitis issue is most exacerbated by running or standing in place for long periods of time. So seeing him running the bases or playing the field is necessary to rule that out. 

**Plausible explanation - when Eaton got to Chicago and Thome was in the front office they talked and Thome told him he barely played in Spring. Of course Thome was basically a DH after leaving the Phillies in 2005 at age 35, so why would he do more than take cuts? 


Josh Higham said...

Re: the shoes. I'd say the shoes look just like these totally normal training shoes by the brand that sponsors him.

I do think this jives with the "felt a twinge and is being careful" narrative, because sneakers are definitely easier on the feet than even plastic spikes, but I don't think they're sad dad orthotics.

Jay said...

I think the Nats beat writers are ok at best. I can't remember the exact incident, but I remember once a visiting team arrived in DC and the visiting team's beat reporters broke a story on one of the Nats players. I think he used to play for the visiting team or something. Our beat reporters were like - Oh yeah, what they said. Like I said not the best example since I can't remember the specifics. Does it ring any bells for anyone else? Either way, I think our beat reporters rarely break anything they aren't fed. Even counting the Dusty story and the Jayson Werth hates Matt Williams stories. Those were both fed to the respective reporters imo.

My only other comment - how do you end up with plantar fasciitis the first week of workouts. That is a repetition injury that should improve in the offseason. Time will tell I guess.

Nattydread said...

Though he has supposedly been the face of the franchise, we really know less about Ryan than almost all other Nats players. He doesn't seek publicity, he doesn't say much unless asked. If his story is true, its an interesting one. Get your own workouts in on your own terms out of the spotlight in the minor leagues. Work on your weaknesses without scrutiny. Hope it works out.

Please, Ryan Zimmerman, flout Harpers' predictions again in 2018.

sirc said...


Plantar Fasciitis is wicked. For a normal person who has a normal healthy and active lifestyle, it can be resolved through a 6 month process, but can linger for as long as a year. At no point has Ryan taken the needed rest to address the injury. I would expect that he will experience the symptoms until he retires.

99% of athletes everywhere said...

Awwww, do we really have to practice? I hate practice. I don’t wanna!!!!!

Anonymous said...

As someone who has experienced plantar fasciitis first hand, it is debilitating. If this has reoccurred for Zimm, he most likely will have it all season again. It cannot heal properly by playing with it - he will just have to play through the pain, or not play at all. After trying everything and anything, the only thing that finally cured my bout with it was wearing a boot (night splint) every night to bed for 6 months straight. If I even feel a tinge of it, the boot is back on again that night. Thankfully, mine has not reoccurred in 3 years. Good luck Zimm.

Harper said...

JH - that seems reasonable. I don't think you'd actually want to play in orthotics anyway

Jay/sirc - like sirc said except add it also can flare back up whenever with little warning. He could have been reasonably ok for the past year and then BOOM there it is again.

ND - and yet we know he built his daughter an awesome play house

99% of managers - Yes you have to. I'm not having you pulling a hammy or bungling a routine play on Day 1 because you're lazy.

Anon - let's hope I'm wrong or at the very least it's something else - a calf twinge or a hamstring tightness - something with a little more security in recovery time.

Rob Evans said...

The season needs to hurry up but as more time passes, I'm getting more and more pessimistic on the season. Bullpen questions, SP questions, injuries, age, regression all this stuff has me worried. Of all the projected playoff teams, I feel like the Nats are the most likely to crash and burn.

Alan Wiecking said...

Zimm has been against spring training for years, and given that no amount of practice is going to increase his range or help his throwing, I don't worry about his fielding and/or playing in a certain # of ST games. He will not be a good fielder again. That swing, however, is so ridiculously convoluted that he requires at bats. Lots of at bats. In the backfield minor league games, he can bat every inning if he chooses. He can take a mulligan and try an at bat again. He can hit and not run anything out. It won't matter unless that causes him to aggravate the Fasciitis and then it's a disaster. I'd be thrilled with another "worst 1st baseman in the league" who gives us 500 AB with a .850 OPS. I expect less than that, but also believe Adams is a better option if there's a Z-disaster than Lind would have been.

Harper said...

Rob Evans - don't be pessimistic 0 the Phillies won 66 games last year. The Mets are already dealing with Vargas breaking his hand and Cespedes having nagging injuries. The Nats may not be the easy 95 win NL East champs but there's no reason to expect they won't win the division.

Alan - Maaaaaaaaaaybe. I like to bring up Jeter as a guy who TWICE corrected his fielding after years in the majors. OK sure it was from awful to middling but that still matters. So I'm not buying that Zimm who came up as a GREAT fielder can't do anything here.

Alan Wiecking said...

Harper - Okay, but that's classic risk/reward. I don't remember Jeter having an ongoing thing like the fasciiatis; and he was fielding a position arguably a little more important than 1st so I'm happy with caution.

And jeez, when did we turn into RedSox fans from their bad days. We're still in first place!

Natsochist said...

Jay - I remember when Zuckerman just started his independent Nats Insider gig, he flew down to FL two weeks after the beat guys and broke the story on Detwiler’s hip injury that same day. None of the beat guys had so much as a sniff of it before that.

Karl Kolchak said...

I saw RZ down at spring training last week and even chatted with him for a bit (his wife and my wife are friends). He looks perfectly fine--no discernible limp and he was playing around with his two young daughters free and easy with no apparent concern. I know that's a long way from playing in an MLB game, but the brief view I had behind the scenes seemed to back up the official story.

Harper said...

KK - I need to get my wife mingling in different social circles.

I don't think this is out of line with what I believe. I don't necessarily think he's hurt - just that he felt something in that first game and they all agreed "Let's pull it all the way back". So he could have felt perfectly ok since that very day, but why push it? I've said before I think he is going to play OD.

And of course there's always the chance that I've been wrong all along. And it's all just really weird because. I suppose. Everyone thank the ersatz Night Stalker for the info.

KW said...

By nearly all accounts, Zim is a good guy, pillar of the community, etc. But whatever is going on here is a bad look for the team and for the new manager. It smacks of extreme veteran privilege. If there's something wrong, say there's something wrong. If there isn't, then get on the field with your teammates, work on some of those 3-6-3 double-play throws in game conditions, etc. More than anything, support your new manager and your teammates. The three-time Cy Young winner isn't missing any starts. Most of the regulars have played around 15 games. It's a weird situation.

John C. said...

This is the sort of thing that the internet is good at. It starts with speculation (could it be plantar fascitis?), which then leads to assessments of the impact of the (now assumed) plantar fascitis, and soon we're at full on DOOOOOOOM.

I will say this for Zim - anyone thinking that he is the worst fielding first baseman in the league hasn't been watching Matt Adams the last few games. Ugh.

Ole PBN said...

On another note (not that dislike talking about a non-story with the most bland guy on the team)... Martinez is open to batting Harper leadoff and having the pitcher hit 8th in the order. Whether you agree or disagree with those approaches, its nice to have a manager with an OPEN MIND :)

JE34 said...

Spring games mean nothing... BUT:

Why are the Nats' starters suddenly getting shelled, in succession?

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