Nyjer Morgan is coming off a successful first season in Japan, but he’s mulling over the possibility of bringing “Tony Plush” back to the states.
One of Morgan’s new agents, Jonathan Maurer, tells Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com that he’s had dialogue with 6-8 teams expressing interest in the outfielder.
“Japan was a great experience for Nyjer and he would still enjoy playing there, but he’s had a great deal of success in the States and would love to come back here as well,” Maurer said. “We’ve had interest from teams who see him as a guy who could come in and spell a starter or possibly earn more playing time.”
Morgan, 33, hit .294/.361/.434 with 11 home runs and 50 RBI over 108 games last season with the Yokohama DeNa BayStars of Japan’s Central League. Known for his aggressive style and eccentric antics, he owns a .280/.341/.364 batting line in MLB. He last appeared with the Brewers in 2012.
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.