Shaun Marcum scratched with elbow problem

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Brewers right-hander Shaun Marcum won’t face his former team Tuesday as planned. He’s been scratched from his start against the Blue Jays due to an elbow problem.

“His elbow is tight, and we went to throw our bullpen the other day and it was still tight,” manager Ron Roenicke told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Todd Rosiak “So he’s not going to make his start tomorrow. (Team physician William) Raasch is going to look at him, and we’ll see where we go from there.”

The hope is that he’ll just miss the one start.

Aided by a soft schedule of late, Marcum is 3-0 with a 2.30 ERA in his last four starts. He’s 5-3 with a 3.39 ERA in 13 starts on the season.

The Brewers haven’t decided how they’ll replace him Tuesday. It’s going to depend on how Randy Wolf performs tonight. If Wolf goes deep into the game, the Brewers will likely have a bullpen day tomorrow, with Manny Parra possibly getting the ball first. However, if they need to use a few relievers tonight, then they’ll probably add someone from the minors.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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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. 😉