Results tagged ‘ Ryan Zimmerman ’

Zimmerman wants to win, but understands process

Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman has played with the Nationals since late 2005 and watched the team finish in sixth place every year except for 2007.

While he doesn’t like to lose, Zimmerman said he understands that the Nationals are trying to build a team through the farm system.

“Nobody like losing, but it’s a process here,” Zimmerman said. “We have a young team. It’s hard to compete day in and day out with teams that have veteran guys. We are learning here. Do I think we have enough to win? Of course.

“A lot of these guys are learning to play every day in the big leagues. It’s not an easy place to learn. It’s a hard thing to learn how to be consistent and be successful every day. It’s a fun team to be on because I get to watch it happen like I had to go through. We are in that process now. Nobody likes to lose.” 

Nationals make two sparkling defensive plays

The Nationals are one of the worst defensive teams in baseball this season, but they made two sparkling gems during Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the Marlins.

In the fifth inning, with runners on first and third, two outs and Nationals right-hander Jason Marquis on the mound, Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison hit a shot up the middle that looked like a base hit. But second baseman Danny Espinosa made a great diving play and threw out Morrison for the final out of the inning.

“That was great play,” Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said. “The range to get it and then the arm to finish it off was tremendous. I don’t know what more you could do there.”

A natural shortstop, Espinosa sounded like a person who doesn’t need to make adjustments at second base. Espinosa didn’t start playing the position until after the All-Star break.

“I’m trying to feel more comfortable everyday over there to make my routine plays. It makes me feel better,” Espinosa said. 

In the sixth inning, the Nationals were able to turn a great double play. With no outs and a runner on first, Dan Uggla hit what looked like a routine groundball to third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who booted the ball, but manage to throw out Uggla at first base. 

At the same time, Hanley Ramirez didn’t stop at second and decided to go to third. Luckily for the Nationals, shortstop Ian Desmond was covering third as first baseman Adam Dunn threw out Ramirez for the double play.

“I saw that he didn’t stop at second,” Desmond said about Ramirez. “I just knew to run to third. That’s the way they teach you to do it. I ran to third, hoping that Dunn was going to throw it and he did.”

Nats tidbits for Sunday

The Nationals still want a veteran starting pitcher, but don’t expect general manager Mike Rizzo to look hard for one on the free-agent market. In fact, the club is waiting for free-agent pitchers to come to them at the right price. 

So don’t look for the Nationals to break the bank for pitchers such as right-hander John Smoltz or left-hander Jarrod Washburn.   

“During the early part of the winter, we made sure we got things done,” Rizzo said. “I made sure we had a Major League veteran starter [Jason Marquis], Major League catcher [Ivan Rodriguez] and improved the bullpen [Matt Capps, Brian Bruney and Eddie Guardado]. We took care of that.
 
“I think during the second half of the offseason we are going to let a little bit of that come to us. We do think there is a surplus of people out there … that we are talking about. There is nobody … out there on the pitching market that is a difference maker.”      

* Center fielder Nyjer Morgan acknowledged that he needs to improve his batting average against left-handed pitching. Last season, for example, the left-handed hitting Morgan hit .175 with a homer and 12 RBIs against southpaws. 

“I’ll try to figure something out — if it’s a little adjustment,” Morgan said. “I’ll make something happen. Last year was probably my worst year of hitting lefties. Like I said, you got to take your lumps but you learn off your mistakes and you try to get better off your mistakes.”

* Right-hander Craig Stammen said he is willing to be a starter or reliever in 2010, but he is going into Spring Training believing that he will be a starter. Stammen said his right elbow is 100 percent after having bone spurs removed toward the end of the season.

* The Nationals displayed Ryan Zimmerman’s first Gold Glove at NatsFest. It was obvious that he was pleased to get the award.

“Defense is an important part of the game. It’s a part of the game that is overlooked,” he said. Everyone loves offense, home runs and everything. You have to be able to play defense and work hard for that, too. I take a lot of pride in that.”

Ryan Zimmerman wins Gold Glove

Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman made history on Wednesday, becoming the first person in Nationals history to win the Gold Glove.

Zimmerman led NL third basemen in assists, total chances, total outs recorded and games started. Almost every game it seemed like Zimmerman put on a show at the hot corner — whether it was making a diving play or charging a ball to throw out a runner.

Zimmerman has been great with the glove ever since he entered the Major Leagues in September, 2005, but didn’t receive a lot of recognition until this year. Why? Zimmerman said he learned to play the position a lot better.

“I know what I need to do  — when to throw the ball, when not to throw the ball. That’s something I had to learn,” he said. “I feel like anytime I touch the ball, I can get the person out. A lot of times in the past, I might go down the line, dive, backhand the ball and not have a shot at the runner.”

“I’ve learned to hold on to the ball. That’s obviously better for the team. You don’t want to try to throw it everywhere and you have a runner on second and all that. I think it’s more of an understanding of the game and learning the position a little bit more.”        

Zimmerman reaches 30-homer plateau

While attending the University of Virginia, Ryan Zimmerman hit seven home runs.

After he was drafted by the Nationals in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, Zimmerman warned he was not a home run hitter and indicated that he was going to hit a lot doubles.

Zimmerman has hit his share of doubles in the big leagues, all right, but he was wrong about not being a home-run hitter. In fact, on Friday, Zimmerman, took a Mike Pelfrey pitch for a two-run homer, giving Washington a 2-0 lead in the first inning.

It was Zimmerman’s 30th home run of the season and the first time he has put together a 30-homer season.

“I never hit home runs until I got to the big leagues,” Zimmerman said. “I guess I saved the home runs. I don’t know. That’s how it is. I just keep working hard and get better each year.”

How  does Zimmerman feel about reaching the 30-homer plateau?

“It means that I’m getting better. It’s proves that I’ve done it,” Zimmerman said. “It’s great. I’m excited and all that. It gives you a bench mark to shoot for each year. I have another reason to work even harder.”

Zimmerman trying to improve throwing

Around 3:00 p.m. ET, on Friday, Nationals manager Jim Riggleman was seen working hard with third baseman Ryan Zimmerman on his throwing motion.

Zimmerman was seen throwing the baseball overhand instead of his usual sidearm delivery, which has caused him to make costly errors. The session lasted about 15 minutes.  

“We want to maximize everything Ryan can do,” Riggleman said. “His range is probably better than anybody I’ve ever seen over at third base. … He goes and gets so many balls to his left and by the mound, but somewhere in there, he lost his feel for his arm slot on the basic play.

“The ball is not coming out of his hand as good as he knows it can and we know it can. We talked about it. We are going to get back to the basics, get his arm up and let it fly.”

Thursday was an example of how things have been going for Zimmerman with the glove. Leading off the top of the third inning, Cubs catcher Koyie Hill hit a routine ground ball to  Zimmerman, who threw away the ball for a two-base error. Zimmerman threw the ball sidearm, but had problems gripping the ball.

“I want to stop [making errors] because it’s hurting the team. I don’t like the way it happens,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman to attend grandmother's funeral

Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman was not in the starting lineup against the Astros on Friday night because he is in North Carolina to attend the funeral of his grandmother, Ilene Zimmerman, who passed away on Wednesday. She was 82 years old.

Zimmerman is not going on the bereavement list because, according to manager Manny Acta, he will return to the team during Saturday’s game. Acta said Zimmerman will not start in that game either.

“He went to his grandmother’s funeral,” Acta said. “He is going to miss today’s game and probably tomorrow’s game. He is probably going to make it in time before [Saturday's game] is over, but he is not going to be able to start.”

In the meantime, Willie Harris started at third base in Zimmerman’s absence on Friday.

Acta gives opinion on All-Star representative

Manager Manny Acta said it is tough to decide which member of the Nationals should go to the All-Star Game in St. Louis this month.

Acta said the candidates are between shortstop Cristian Guzman and third baseman Ryan Zimmerman. Entering Saturday’s action, Guzman was hitting .321 with three home runs and 21 RBIs, while Zimmerman had a .295 batting average with 13 home runs and 44 RBIs.

“I think Cristian has been our most consistent hitter the whole year and I think Zimmermann also deserves a chance to go, not only because of the 30-game hitting streak. His numbers are pretty good compared with the other third basemen,” Acta said.

There is some talk in baseball circles that left-hander John Lannan should be considered, but Acta wasn’t sure. Lannan was 5-5 with a 3.45 ERA before Saturday’s game against the Braves.

“It will be tough because they only pick so many starters,” Acta said.        

Zimmerman trying to get out of hitting slump

The month of June has not been a good one for Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman. Entering Tuesday’s action against the Red Sox, Zimmerman is 14-for-69 [.217] with one home run and eight RBIs.

Even worse, Zimmerman went 0-for-15 against the Blue Jays this weekend.

Manager Manny Acta said on Sunday that Zimmerman looks lost at the plate and is chasing breaking ball on the outside part of the plate.

“He is going out of the zone a little bit and [swinging at] some breaking balls that he was handling when he was hot,” Acta said. “When he was going through that [30-game hitting  streak], he was just locked in.

“But he will be back into it. He works very hard with [hitting coach] Rick [Eckstein]. Right now, Ryan has to go one at-bat at a time and try not to put the slump away with one swing.”

Zimmerman seems to believe that he is not in a serious slump.”

“Three bad games out of how many? I think that’s what’s going on,” Zimmerman said. “It happens to everybody. I will enjoy the day off, I’ll come back and get back to it.” 

Ryan Zimmerman donates money to school

Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman made a $250,000 contribution to the University of Virginia’s Athletics Foundation for improvements to benefit its baseball program. Zimmerman is a former All-America third baseman at Virginia. 

The gift from Zimmerman is designated for an expansion project at Davenport Field, home of Virginia baseball. The project includes construction of a team meeting room, weight room, indoor batting cages, training room, a Hall of Fame area, umpires’ locker room and visiting locker room.

The project will enhance the university’s ability to secure future NCAA events. A possible second phase of the project would include additional seats and suites and would require additional private gifts to fund it.

“The school help me get to where I am now. To be able to give back is nice,” Zimmerman said. 

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