You know who’s happy today? The Phillies. Because of the Stanley Cup Final and because of all of the Jim Joyce and Ken Griffey rumpus, not too many people are talking about them today. About how, you know, they’re in a total flat spin and how they can’t hit anymore and look to be playing uninspired baseball and everything.
Well, I notice of course, because I have a vested interest. But Charlie Manuel notices too, and yesterday the normal even-keeled Cholly let loose on his players for not hitting the ball:
“It’s definitely not Milt Thompson’s fault. He doesn’t do the
hitting. You’ve got to hold people accountable. I don’t see a young player on our roster. These guys have been
around a long time. If they haven’t learned something from their
hitting by now, and they don’t know some of the things that they do when
they go bad . . . we can talk to them and we can tell them things that
we see. I talk to them all the time, and I hear Milt talk to them . . .
“You’re the one making the outs. That’s how I look at it.
It’s up to you to master your hitting. If you listen and you learn, the
more you play, you should know something about yourself.”
Manuel then said that maybe he’d hire a house peeper to keep an eye on the fellas next time they hit the bricks for a road trip so’s to put the kibosh on all that rumpty the night before go-time.
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.