The bad news continues to pour in for Ian Stewart, the Rockies’ once-promising corner infielder.
According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, the 26-year-old is still being bothered the inflammation in his left wrist that put an early end to his 2011 season and has backed out of a scheduled visit to the Rox’ fall instructional league, which ends in a week.
Stewart is hoping to feel well enough in a month so that he can play winter ball down in Mexico.
A former first-round draft pick, Stewart will be entering his second year of arbitration eligibility and is in danger of being non-tendered by the Rockies this winter. After tallying 43 home runs between 2009 and 2010, he batted just .156/.243/.221 this season with zero home runs, only seven extra-base hits and six RBI in 136 major league plate appearances.
All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.
The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.
It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.
It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.
Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉