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.
With Game 1 of the Red Sox-Indians ALDS set to commence on Thursday, there’s no better starter for the job than Corey Kluber. The only question is whether or not the right-hander will be up to the task after sustaining a mild quadriceps strain earlier this week.
Indians’ manager Terry Francona appeared optimistic about Kluber’s chances of recovering in time for the Division Series, but admitted that he doesn’t have his rotation set in stone for the first couple of postseason games. Complicating matters is Monday’s potential make-up game between the Indians and the Tigers, which they’ll be forced to play if the outcome has bearing on playoff seeding.
Per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, Francona doesn’t have a starter for the make-up game, either, though he clarified that rehabbing right-hander Danny Salazar would not be eligible. Salazar is still working his way back from a forearm injury in hopes of joining the Indians for their postseason run, and needs to toss another simulated game before he can be expected to return to the mound. Kluber, meanwhile, will throw off the mound on Sunday.
With Kluber or Salazar limping out of the gate, the Indians will likely have to fall back on right-handers Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin. Bauer is slated for Saturday’s face-off against the Royals and confirmed his willingness to pitch on short rest through the playoffs. The 25-year-old also spoke to the Indians about his ability to pitch out of the bullpen, though it’s an option they appear unlikely to exercise. While Francona’s comments on Friday stressed the club’s patient approach toward their rotation, Bauer appeared revved and ready to go:
If it was up to me, […] I’d pitch and be ready to start or be available out of the ‘pen every game. In the playoffs, there’s really no reason to save anything. So, whenever I can get in there, whenever they want me to get in there, I’ll be ready.
Matt Holliday might not have a landing spot with the Cardinals in 2017, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to hang his cleats up just yet. Prior to the Cardinals’ afternoon set against the Pirates on Saturday, the 36-year-old expressed his desire to further his career elsewhere, even if staying in St. Louis is not a possibility.
It’s been a down year for the outfielder, who batted .242/.318/.450 through 107 games before landing on the disabled list with a fractured right thumb. His 0.6 fWAR is the lowest mark of his career to date. Notwithstanding two injury-riddled seasons (he was sidelined through most of 2015 with a right quadriceps strain), he’s performed admirably for the Cardinals over the past eight years, putting up a .292/.379/.494 batting line, 156 home runs, and 26.8 fWAR with the club. With a return to full health, he might not be on the market for long.