Does Ryan Zimmerman have the yips?


Ryan Zimmerman has had a hell of a time throwing the ball lately. Nats Insider Mark Zuckerman writes about it. Zimmerman thinks it’s a mental issue. His teammates, while downplaying it, think it’s a confidence issue. Here’s Ian Desmond:

“In a sense, it’s a confidence thing. He’s never come to me before about how to hit a homer, or how to drive in a runner from second, or how to make a diving play. So I would imagine his confidence is a little down if he’s coming to me. I have some things that I see, but I think he’s to the point now where it’s right there. He’s gotten 100 times better.”

Zuckerman gives the obligatory name checks to Steve Sax, Chuck Knoblauch, Mackey Sasser, but correctly notes that, mental or not, this doesn’t look at all like what those guys went through. He’s not airmailing things. He’s just throwing wide or missing.

Given that it’s not classic yips, Zimmerman’s protestations aside, you have to wonder if it isn’t physical. He had shoulder problems and, as Zuckerman noted last winter, Zimmerman has changed his throwing motion.

Indians release Mike Napoli

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The Cleveland Indians have released Mike Napoli.

This is not terribly surprising as he was seen as a depth move to begin with. Injury insurance for Yonder Alonso at first base and Edwin Encarnacion at DH, neither of whom are injured at the moment. Napoli was on a minor league contract and the Indians made it clear that, if he can’t find a major league job elsewhere, he’s welcome to come back and cool his heels in Columbus in the event he’s needed later.

Which may be what happens if he wants to keep playing because, after a season in which he hit .193/.285/.428, and a spring in which he hit .218/.310/.431, there aren’t likely to be a ton of takers.