Mark DeRosa has numbness in the ring and pinky fingers of his left hand, preventing
him from swinging the bat effectively. “I feel like my bottom hand’s underwater. I don’t have much feeling in
my bottom two fingers,” he says.
This is bad enough as it is, but what makes it worse is that this sort of thing was supposed to have been corrected by the offseason surgery he had. Now he’s calling that surgery a “total failure,” and he’s considering having another surgery because he simply can’t hit the ball. Attention Mark DeRosa’s surgeon: put your insurance carrier on notice.
But I’m less interested in the specifics of DeRosa’s wrist injury as I am in his anecdote about how it’s affecting him:
DeRosa last played Saturday, when he went 0-for-5 at New York and didn’t
hit the ball out of the infield in three at-bats against Mets starter
“It came to a full head in my second at-bat,” DeRosa recalled.
“[Santana’s] throwing 88, 89 [mph] and I was sitting on a middle-in
fastball. It was there on a tee. I went to move on it. When it came out
of his hand, I [said], ‘This is a bare minimum double to left-center.’
The next thing I know, it’s a weak popup to second base.”
What does it say about Santana’s velocity that his pitches are being referred to as being “there on a tee” by a middlin’-at-best super utility guy?
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. 😉