Lastings Milledge, who was at one time considered a top Mets prospect, has had quite an odyssey around baseball the past few years. Ridiculed right out of the gate in Washington thanks to Manny Acta putting him in center field when he really wasn’t cut out for it, he struggled with the Nats and then was cut loose by the Pirates of all teams. It was rather surprising, therefore, to see him make the White Sox roster out of spring training.
But now that’s over too. He was designated for assignment today in order to make room for reliever Jeff Gray. Milledge had only four at bats this season. DFAing him gives the Sox ten days in which to trade him, release him or send him down to the minors. I’m guessing that no one is all that interested in giving up a thing for Milledge, so one of the latter two options seems likely.
He turned 26 on Tuesday, so there’s not a lot of hope that Milledge will ever be an everyday player. But he could probably be a platoon guy, corner defensive replacement. Or not.
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.