San Diego Padres second baseman Jedd Gyorko, a second-round pick in the 2010 draft, made noise last season when he hit 30 home runs and drove in 100 runs between Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A Tucson. MLB.com listed him as the #50 prospect overall going into the 2013 season and he just may make the Padres’ Opening Day roster if he continues hitting the way he has so far. In 18 spring at-bats, he has hit three homers and a double while driving in nine runs. The big question concerns his ability to play second base, as he was brought up as a third baseman but is, at least for now, blocked at that position by Chase Headley.
Gyorko says he feels comfortable at his new position.
”I’m having fun at second and the key is just getting better each day,” Gyorko said. ”It helps that we have an extended spring this year and I get to play a ton of games to get work in.”
25-year-old Logan Forsythe is competing with Gyorko for the job at second. In 350 trips to the plate last year, he hit .273 with six home runs and he stole eight bases as well. In a very limited showing in spring so far, though, he is hitting .231 with no extra-base hits in 13 at-bats.
Gyorko is winning, at least in the early going.
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.