Yet another Kelvim Escobar update

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Kelvim Escobar says he’s doing fine. Kevin Kernan writes the following:

Despite the hysteria of last week, he is right on time in his rehab,
according to the Mets and, more importantly, according to his
representatives. The plan from the beginning was not to rush Escobar . . .  Escobar insists he will be ready by the start of the season, but the
Mets are not counting on that and are taking it slow with his rehabbing
shoulder. That is why there is so much emphasis now on trying to find
an eighth-inning pitcher.

I can’t seem to find a story from back when he signed in December, but I’m pretty sure that the Mets did not say he was doubtful for Opening Day back then, which makes their claim that he’s “right on time” on his rehab a little hard to swallow.  Something has obviously happened with him.

I’m perfectly willing to admit that I was wrong about Escobar last week, but as I said at the time, I don’t think the Mets get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to shooting straight with respect to injuries these days.  I’ll believe that he’s not injured when he actually pitches.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉