Not much has been going right for the Mets this season. They’re stuck in the bottom of the National League East standings and most experts have already written them off for the postseason.
Chris Young has been a bright spot. Signed to a bargain one-year, $1.1 million contract this winter, he posted a 1.46 ERA and 12/6 K/BB ratio over his first two regular season starts and has now made a quick recovery from a mild case of biceps tendinitis.
According to ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin, Young threw a successful three-inning simulated game on Thursday afternoon at Citi Field and is pushing to return to the Mets’ rotation on Tuesday night against the Nationals. He will toss a final bullpen session Saturday to prove his readiness.
“I think so,” Young said when asked about skipping a minor league rehab assignment. “I haven’t missed too much. I think if it were prolonged, I’d probably need a rehab start. But at this point I still feel comfortable picking up hopefully where I left off.”
Dillon Gee, 24, has been filling in for Young. He limited the Braves to one earned run over five-plus innings on Sunday but will likely head back to the Triple-A level once Young is deemed fit to return.
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.