Results tagged ‘ Jordan Zimmermann ’

Nats Grapefruit League Notes, 3/1

By Andrew Simon

VIERA, Fla. — Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest between the Nationals and Braves at Space Coast Stadium featured two teams that figure to be fighting each other for the National League East title. But after a brisk first two innings from starters Jordan Zimmermann and Julio Teheran, the game devolved into a sloppy affair that lasted three hours, 59 minutes and featured 31 runs, 37 hits, 14 walks, six errors and numerous misplays.

For what it’s worth, the Nats outlasted the Braves, 16-15. Here are some notes and observations from a long and crazy day at the ballpark:

– Zimmermann was on point, throwing 15 of his 20 pitches for strikes and getting five ground balls in six batters during two scoreless innings. As mentioned in today’s notebook, Zimmermann mixed in some nice changeups, a part of his repertoire that that he has developed very gradually in recent years.

– Bryce Harper played his first game of the spring, going four innings in left field and taking three plate appearances. He lined out sharply to first base, walked twice and stole a base.

– The Nats went 3-for-3 on steals in the third inning, with Denard Span stealing one on his own before pulling off a double steal of third and second with Harper. New manager Matt Williams wants his players to run the bases more aggressively, and they appear to be doing that in the early going.

– Most of the Nats pitchers after Zimmermann had a tough time, but veteran righty Luis Ayala — competing for one the last two bullpen spots — stopped the bleeding. He came in to protect a one-run lead with one out and the bases loaded in the eighth and induced an inning-ending double play, then pitched a scoreless ninth for the save. Ayala is a sinkerball artist who posted an excellent 59 percent groundball rate last season, mostly with Atlanta.

“He’s a guy that can have really quick innings,” Williams said. “An aggressive opposition, ball sinking down and in, a lot of ground balls. So that’s why we’re considering him and that’s why he’s here and it was a perfect situation today for him.”

– Michael Taylor, who is considered a strong defensive prospect in center field, had a rough day after entering the game in right. He made two errors on one play to allow Matt Lipka to circle the bases on a bloop hit down the line and later dropped a line drive into the right-center gap.

“We want to make sure he gets some reps out there,” Williams said. “Today’s a rough day for any right fielder, but he’ll get some more reps out there, too.”

Tomorrow: The Nats are back at Space Coast to take on the Marlins at 1:05 p.m. Doug Fister will start in his Washington debut, and fellow newcomer Jerry Blevins is scheduled to pitch as well. Jayson Werth is supposed to play for the first time this spring.

Looking ahead: Ross Detwiler will start against the Yankees on Monday in Tampa, and Stephen Strasburg will take the ball against the Braves on Tuesday in Lake Buena Vista. That would leave Gio Gonzalez as the one expected member of the rotation yet to pitch.

Worth noting: Although he called Saturday’s defensive sloppiness an “aberration,” Williams said his club will address the issue in a previously scheduled situational defense practice on Sunday.

Worth quoting: While passing a group of reporters in a hallway shortly after the game, Nats coach Mark Weidemaier, who is in charge of the club’s defense, quipped, “Coached the [heck] out of ‘em today!”

Further reading: Today’s notebook on Nationals.com also includes info on how Danny Espinosa will split his time between second base and shortstop this spring, the approach Williams wants prospect Zach Walters to take at the plate, and lefty Tyler Robertson aiming for a bullpen job.

Follow me on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB

Zimmermann’s chance at 20 wins

By Tom Schad | Associate Reporter

Jordan Zimmermann doesn’t care about reaching 20 wins. At least, he downplayed the milestone Friday night after blanking the Marlins, 8-0.

After battling through neck stiffness during the middle of the season, Zimmermann again looked like the first-half All-Star that he was on Friday. He struck out nine, allowed just two hits and only walked one. His fastball hovered around 95 mph and his slider touched 90 mph.  Zimmermann became the first pitcher in the National League to reach 19 wins, but that doesn’t mean he’s thinking about No. 20.

“I mean, I just want the team to win, to be honest with you,” Zimmermann said. “If that means me going six, seven innings of no runs and I get the no decision, as long as we win, that’s the main thing.”

Zimmermann’s teammates know better.

“I don’t believe him,” Denard Span said, smiling, “but OK.

“He’s a modest guy,” Anthony Rendon added. “He’s not going to be like, ‘I’m trying to get to 20.’ But yeah, it would be awesome. Twenty games, that’s a lot.”

Most people in the baseball world have devalued wins as a measure of a pitcher’s effectiveness. Take the Nationals’ rotation this season as an example. Stephen Strasburg has 16 quality starts in 28 outings and is 7-9. Jordan Zimmermann has 21 quality starts in 30 outings and is 19-8.

But regardless of statistical preference, everyone can agree that a 20-win season is impressive.

“I think 20 wins for a pitcher is like 20 home runs for a position player,” Span explained. “A position player tells you 20 home runs is not important, they’re probably not telling the truth. So yeah, 20 wins for a starting pitcher, it seems to be like the milestone … the standard of a good, powerful, quality starting pitcher.”

Eclipsing 20 wins would also bolster Zimmermann’s case for the NL Cy Young Award. Jayson Werth thinks that Zimmermann’s chances at winning the award are good, but it’s important to keep everything in perspective.

“I think they get a lot better if we make it to the postseason,” Werth said.

Nats’ Zimmermann not playing in All-Star Game

Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann has decided not to play in the 2013 All-Star Game because of tightness in his neck. Zimmermann will, however, take his family to the event at Citi Field in New York and suit up for the National League in Tuesday’s Midsummer Classic.

Zimmermann had an MRI taken on Friday and it revealed that he had an issue with some soft tissues in the neck, according manager Davey Johnson.  Zimmerman last pitched on Thursday, throwing 6 1/3 innings and allowing two runs in 3-1 loss to the Phillies. <p>

“I rather be healthy than go out there and just pitch one inning and then have the whole second half shot,” Zimmermann said. “I think taking a few days  off, no throwing  and rest, we’ll be good to go.” <p> Zimmerman has had problems with the neck since the middle of May. He woke up one day and the neck started to hurt.

“I don’t know if I strained a muscle  or what the deal is,” Zimmermann said.  “I would wake up in the morning and it would be pretty stiff. As the day goes on, it’s gets better. Obviously, looking towards home, looking to first, I can feel the tightness in [the neck]. I don’t think it affects anything, but it’s a nuisance.”

Johnson spoke  to Giants manager Bruce Bochy on Friday afternoon and Johnson recommended that Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg or Rafael Soriano be considered for the All-Star team.

Gonzalez has pitched effectively for more than two months and looks like the pitcher that won 20 games for Washington last year. He has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 11 of his last 13 starts. He has a 2.18 ERA since May 1.

In fact, Gonzalez said Strasburg deserved to go to the Midsummer Classic. Despite having a losing record, Strasburg has  2.45 ERA, which ranks sixth in the Major Leagues.

As for Soriano, he came to the Nationals as advertised, leading the team in saves with 24 and has a 2.13 ERA.

Why Zimmermann struggles to hold a lead

By Tom Schad | Associate Reporter

Jordan Zimmermann has been stellar this season in every way but one: when the Nationals give him a big lead, he can’t seem to hang onto it.

The certain All-Star has already matched a career-high with 12 wins and boasts the ninth-best ERA in the Major Leagues (2.46). He has allowed three runs or more only four times, including Monday night against the Brewers. Yet in all four games, the Nationals gave Zimmermann had a cushion of at least four runs and he allowed the opposing offense to work its way back into the game.

On Monday, Zimmermann took an 8-0 lead into the top of the fifth inning. By the end of the sixth, that lead had been cut in half.

“You get eight runs like that and you’re just pitching to the score,” he explained. “I’m throwing fastballs and trying to get quick outs and trying not to fall behind anyone. They took the fastball the other way. I was just throwing it away. They got a few base hits and I wasn’t able to get out [of] a couple of innings and they just hit the ball. I was just trying to throw strikes and try[ing] to go deep in the game. They obviously knew I was going to throw the fastball and I wasn’t going to mess around. They were ready for it.”

For Zimmermann, the trend is nothing new. In 28 Major League starts in which he’s received minimal run support (0-2 runs), Zimmermann has a 2.50 ERA. In 29 starts when the offense has scored six runs or more, his ERA jumps to 4.21.

While Zimmermann’s inability to hold a lead might seem worrisome, it hasn’t had a large effect on the team’s results this season. In three of his four rough starts, the Nationals have still won the game. Count manager Davey Johnson among the unfazed.

“He always goes after them, but he might go after them a little more over the plate,” Johnson said. “I’m not really worried about it.”

Nats’ Zimmermann avoids arbitration

Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann avoided arbitration Friday evening by agreeing to a one-year, $5.35 million deal with the Nationals.

Zimmermann filed for arbitration at $5.8 million, while the Nationals wanted to pay $4.6 million. The two parties were scheduled to go to arbitration on Tuesday, but Zimmermann hinted early in the week that progress was made regarding a new contract.

“I was happy to get it done. Obviously, if we had to go [to arbitration], we were ready to go. We got the deal we wanted. We are definitely happy it’s over with,” Zimmermann said.

At the moment, Zimmermann and the Nationals are not talking about a contract extension. Since last summer, there has been talk about Zimmermann getting a multi-year deal.

“We are going to take it easy for a few days and just focus on baseball,” Zimmermann said. “As the time comes, we’ll be there to listen. We are just happy that the one-year deal is done and we are going to focus getting ready for the season.”

Zimmermann had his best season to date in 2012, winning 12 games with a 2.94 ERA in 195 2/3 innings. He is considered the third starter in a formidable rotation that includes Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez.

Nats’ Johnson satisfied with Zimmermann’s start

Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann made his fourth start of the spring in a 5-1 loss to the Astros on Friday. He pitched five innings and allowed four runs on eight hits. Zimmermann threw 74 pitches, 51 strikes.

Manager Davey Johnson wasn’t concerned that Zimmermann gave up the four runs. The skipper just wanted Zimmermann to pitch five innings and get ready for Opening Day.

“The results weren’t that good, but he threw the ball well,” Johnson said. “He gave me five innings, which I wanted to see. Five innings is more important to me than the pitch count. He has one more start before the regular season starts. I like the way he is throwing. That’s the big thing.”

Zimmermann is expected to pitch the third game of a three-gane series against the Cubs on April 8th at Wrigley Field.

Wang, Zimmermann have bullpen sessions

Nationals right-handers Chien-Ming Wang and Jordan Zimmermann had bullpen sessions Friday without any problems, according to pitching coach pitching Steve McCatty.   

Wang threw 30 pitches — all fastballs. It was his first session since Monday, when he threw 45 pitches. Wang was expected to throw Wednesday, but the session was postponed because of a sore right shoulder. Wang will have his next session Sunday at Space Coast Stadium.

After throwing 15 pitches Monday, Zimmermann threw 45 pitches Friday. It’s not known when Zimmermann will have another session in the bullpen.

“He looks great. He has to take it nice and slow and stay with the program. He is doing that,” McCatty said.      

Zimmermann is ahead of schedule in terms of making a comeback, but general manager Mike Rizzo told  Zimmermann that he would not pitch in a game until August.

Once Zimmermann returns, the Nationals are hoping that he and Stephen Strasburg become a one-two combination on the pitching staff by 2011.

Three things to look out for Monday

* Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann will have his first bullpen session of the spring. He will throw 10-15 pitches — all fastballs.

* Right-hander Chien-Ming Wang will have another bullpen session. On Friday, he threw 45 pitches without pain. Wang would like to improve his delivery, however.

* The Nationals will have their fifth round of cuts. If not Monday, then Tuesday for sure.

      

Zimmermann has elbow surgery

Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann had elbow reconstruction on Wednesday and is expected to miss 12 to 18 months.

The surgery was performed by Dr. Wiemi Douoguih, the team’s medical director, and Dr. Lewis Yocum in Southern Calif.

Zimmermann, who is traveling to Washington on Thursday, will be in a splint for seven days and then start range-of-motion exercises. He is expected to stay with the club and rehab the elbow for the rest of the season.

Zimmermann pitched in 16 games and was 3-5 with a 4.63 ERA for Washington this season.    

In other news, outfielder Austin Kearns, on the disabled list because of a thumb contusion, hopes to start baseball activities in a couple of weeks.   

Zimmermann out for season; surgery required

Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann will need elbow reconstruction, according acting general manager Mike Rizzo. Zimmermann is expected to  be out 12 to 18 months.

Zimmermann, who was in his first year in the big leagues, pitched in 16 games and was 3-5 with a 4.63 ERA and team-leading 92 strikeouts with Washington. There is no word on when or where the surgery will take place. 

The Nationals had concerns about Zimmermann’s elbow since last Saturday after an MRI was taken the previous day. But before making an final conclusion, the Nationals took the MRI to Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., and he confirmed that Zimmermann has a tear in his ulnar collateral ligament. Washington also is planning to get a third opinion from Dr. Lewis Yocum in Southern California before surgery is done.

“Jordan was very upset. It was one of the toughest calls I had to make,” Rizzo said. “He is one of our crown jewels. He is going to work hard and be in Washington rehabbing his right arm.”

Zimmermann last pitched on July 18th against the Cubs before complaining of tightness in the elbow. 

Zimmermann was not available for comment.

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