Shaun Marcum feels soreness in his elbow while playing catch

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Shaun Marcum initially downplayed the tightness in his right elbow and hoped to return as soon as he was eligible this weekend, but it’s increasingly clear that won’t happen.

According to Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Marcum acknowledged that he still felt soreness in his elbow while playing catch this afternoon.

“Still sore,” Marcum said shortly afterward. “Going to shut it down until it gets better, I guess. A little bit (better). Some of (the soreness) could have been 10 days without throwing, some of that stiffness and stuff in there. Hopefully it goes away and we’ll be good to go.”

Marcum missed the entire 2009 season following Tommy John surgery, but recent tests ruled out any structural damage in the elbow. However, he has compared his current soreness to an injury back in 2010 which caused him to miss a start. While he remains hopefully that his absence will be brief, he isn’t against resting through the All-Star break if necessary.

The Brewers might be in decent shape if they decide to play things safe for the next two weeks, as rookie Michael Fiers has a 2.78 ERA in five starts and Marco Estrada is set to return from the disabled list tomorrow.

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. 😉