Jon Garland may earn rotation spot with Mariners


So says Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times:

Garland could have taken an offer from the Indians prior to signing with Seattle, but he came here after a talk with manager Eric Wedge. I wasn’t there for the chat, but I guaratnee you it went something like: “If you do what you did before, you will make this team.”

So far, Garland has looked very good this spring. Hitters are pounding the ball into the ground off him. He’s thrown 200 innings in a season before — none of the young guys have — and the Mariners need that kind of depth.

I’m assuming he stays.

Garland missed all of the 2012 season after having surgery on his right shoulder in July 2011. The 33-year-old has a career 4.32 ERA over his 12-year career. He was good as recently as 2010 pitching in the pitcher-friendly confines of Petco Park in San Diego. That year, he finished with a 3.47 ERA in an even 200 innings. Seattle’s Safeco Field is similarly pitcher-friendly, so Garland could potentially enjoy success with an opportunity, if given one.

Ryan Zimmerman’s spring training has been . . . weird

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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.