Jordan Zimmermann takes first step on long road back from Tommy John surgery

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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.

Jered Weaver announces his retirement

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Jered Weaver, a 12-year big league veteran and a three-time All-Star, has announced his retirement.

Weaver was struggling mightily with the Padres this year, going 0-5 in nine starts and posting a 7.44 ERA,, a 2.6 BB/9 and 4.9 K/9 ratio over 42.1 innings. He hadn’t posted a sub-4.00 ERA since 2014 and his velocity had, quite famously, sunk into the low 80s and even high 70s at times in recent seasons. A spate of physical setbacks contributed to that, with a hip inflammation ailing him this season and nerve issues in his neck and back afflicting him for the past few years.

But even if his recent seasons have been less-than-memorable, it’s worth remembering that he was, for a time, one of baseball’s best pitchers. He posted a record of 131-69 with a 3.28 ERA in his first 9 seasons, leading the American League in strikeouts in 2010 and leading the circuit in wins in 2012 and 2014. He likewise led the league in WHIP and hits allowed per nine innings in 2012.

He finishes his career with a record of 150-98, an ERA of 3.63 (ERA+ of 111) and a K/BB ratio of 1,621/551 in 2,067.1 innings. He pitched in four American League Division Series and the 2009 ALCS, posting a 2.67 ERA in seven playoff games pitched.

Happy trails, Jered. A first-ballot induction into the Hall of He Was Really Dang Good, Even if We Forgot About It For A While is in your future.

The Jose Fernandez statue may be in jeopardy

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Last November it was reported that the Marlins planned to build a memorial for Jose Fernandez, likely including a statue. The effort was said to be a pet project of the Marlins owner, Jeff Loria, who was close with Fernandez.

Today the Miami Herald reports, however, that those plans are in limbo due to the sale of the team:

The planned statue to honor Jose Fernandez, which was departing owner Jeffrey Loria’s idea, is now very much in question because it will not be erected before Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter take over, and it will ultimately be the new owners’ call. That matter has not yet been discussed, with the sale agreed to only in the past few days.

There’s nothing in the report suggesting that they’re opposed to the statue — it’s possible this was placed in the Herald by people close to the new group in order to test the waters — but there always was the sense that the idea was something of a priority for Loria personally. One wonders how much momentum it will have once he’s gone.

Then, of course, there’s the fact that Fernandez was eventually found to have been under the influence of alcohol and cocaine and was behind the wheel of the boat at the time of the accident that claimed his life and the life of two others, making any memorial to him suspect in the eyes of some people.

Thankfully we don’t spend a lot of time and energy discussing the ethics of statues in this country, so I’m sure it’ll have no bearing on the matter.