Pitching for the first time since Tommy John surgery about 11 months ago, Jordan Zimmermann tossed two scoreless innings in a rehab start at Single-A.
His fastball was reportedly clocked in the mid-90s and Zimmermann was very pleased with the outing:
It feels great. I mean, I’ve been waiting for 10 months now. No pain, felt strong. Everything went well. There’s a process for everything. You’ve got to start in the minors and get your innings and get your work in and get back to where I was when I first got called up.
Zimmermann has the odd distinction of being both the Nationals’ other Zimmerman(n) and the Nationals’ other young ace, but he showed a ton of upside before the injury and could be the team’s long-term No. 2 starter behind Stephen Strasburg.
A second-round pick in 2007, he breezed through the minors with a 15-5 record and 2.78 ERA before posting a 92/29 K/BB ratio in 91.1 innings spread over 16 starts as a 23-year-old rookie. He can’t compete with Strasburg in terms of superstar potential, but Zimmermann ranked among Baseball America‘s top 50 prospects before the surgery and would be the prized young pitcher in an awful lot of organizations.
He’s ahead of the usual post-Tommy John surgery timetable, so hopefully the 24-year-old right-hander can avoid a setback and return to Washington at some point in the second half.
The Kansas City Star has covered the death of Yordano Ventura and its aftermath in a thorough, thoughtful, respectful and admirable fashion and it has all been compelling to read, even if it’s often been difficult to read. Their latest story may be the most difficult, though it is nonetheless essential.
It covers the final year of Ventura’s life which, sadly, was tumultuous. He had become estranged from his family. He was married to a woman who, at the time of the ceremony, was still married to her first husband and whose family, allegedly, later made threats against Ventura that we’re only now learning about. This includes allegations of armed men accosting Ventura at his home near the Royals spring training facility a year ago. An incident which led to him missing time due to “flulike symptoms,” but which, in reality, caused him considerable mental distress. He was again threatened, it is claimed, in Kansas City during the season. There is also an allegation that Ventura attempted suicide via an overdose of Benadryl, though that is disputed.
Beyond that, there is an arc to the end of Ventura’s life which sounds unfortunately familiar. It’s a story of a young man whose life changed dramatically in a very, very short period of time and who struggled at times to process the changes. Were it not for a fateful drive on a dark and winding road one night in late January, they all could’ve been things that, as his career matured, he could look back on as learning experiences. Now that he’s gone, however, they form the final, tragic chapter.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.