Every Nationals fan will have their eyes glued to Stephen Strasburg’s start against the Mets on Saturday afternoon, but they’ll also be interested to hear how Jordan Zimmermann fares in his first major league rehab start with Single-A Potomac.
Zimmermann is currently working his way back from Tommy John surgery last August. Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that the 24-year-old right-hander is slated to either two innings or 35 pitches.
“He’s been ahead of schedule, really, the whole time,” Rizzo said. “I’ve
had to pull him back a little bit and pull the reins in a little bit,
which makes him unhappy at times because he wants to go at 100 miles per
hour all the time. But that’s a good thing. We’re satisfied with where
he’s at, and we’re hoping there’s no hiccups or setbacks. If there’s
not, we’ll expect to see him back here sometime in 2010.”
It could be sooner than you think. Kilgore writes that he could be back by the end of July.
Zimmermann was 3-5 with a 4.63 ERA and 1.36 WHIP in 16 starts with the Nationals last season, posting an impressive 92/29 K/BB ratio over 91 1/3 innings as a rookie. Speaking nothing of my personal fandom, I’d like nothing more than to see him bounce back and be a fine No. 2 to Strasburg for years to come.
The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.
It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:
On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:
“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”
Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrate. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.
A couple of weeks ago our president wrote one of his more . . . vexing tweets. He was talking about immigration when he whipped out the phrase . . . “Easy D”:
No one was quite sure what he meant by Easy D. Was it the older brother of N.W.A.’s founder? The third sequel to that Emma Stone movie from a few years back? So many questions!
Baseball Twitter had fun with it, though, with a lot of people wondering how they could work it in casually to their commentary:
It wasn’t a scout who did it, but twelve days after that, a player obliged Mr. McCullough:
I have no more idea what Turner was talking about with that than Trump was. We’ll have to wait for the full story in the L.A. Times. But I am going to assume Turner was doing McCullough a solid with that one rather than commenting on the president’s tweet. Either way, I’m glad he made the effort.
And before you ask: yes, it’s a slow news day.