Nationals re-sign Mike MacDougal to minors deal

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Released by the Marlins earlier this week, Mike MacDougal has re-signed with the Nationals on a minor-league deal.
MacDougal had a 3.60 ERA in 50 innings and converted 20-of-21 save chances in Washington last season, but his 31/31 K/BB ratio and incredibly inconsistent track record kept him from getting any big-league offers. Mike Capps is now the Nationals’ closer, but MacDougal could get a look in a middle-relief role.
He throws hard and can be extremely tough to hit at times, but more often than not MacDougal struggles to find the strike zone and has a 4.91 ERA with nearly as many walks (83) as strikeouts (85) in 114 total innings over the past three seasons.

Ryan Zimmerman’s spring training has been . . . weird

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Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman has played in exactly one Grapefruit league game this year, and that was way back on March 2. Since then he has been totally absent from the Nats’ big league spring games, playing instead on the back fields in sim games and in minor league contests.

While that’s not an unusual course of action for an injured or rehabbing player, both Zimmerman and the Nationals insist that there is nothing wrong with him. Per this report from MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, they’re saying that Zimmerman “simply prefers to get his work done in the more controlled environment of minor league games, where the rules are lax.” He doesn’t have to dive for balls, he can lead off every inning, etc. Manager Dave Martinez says Zimmerman simply doesn’t like the usual spring training grind and that this is working for him so he’s fine with it too.

Are you buyin’ that? Not sure I’m buyin’ that.

I suppose weirder things have happened. The Minnesota Twins once let Jack Morris go back to his farm in between starts rather than stay with the club. Other accommodations have been made for veterans, especially in spring training. But this is way more in keeping with a team hiding an injury. Though I have no idea why the Nats would choose to hide an injury to Zimmerman. They’ve talked at length about Daniel Murphy‘s knees and Adam Eaton‘s seemingly never-ending rehab. If Zimmerman has some aches and pains, you’d think they’d talk about it.

On the other hand, if this is a legit story and it is simply an accommodation for a veteran who doesn’t like the normal spring training grind, look for Zimmerman to be a trailblazer, because there are a LOT of dudes who hate spring training too and would love to change things up like this.