ryan zimmerman getty

Ryan Zimmerman has been having trouble with his throwing mechanics

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Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman has committed 135 errors in his ten-year career, and a whopping 97 of them — 72 percent — have been throwing errors. Zimmerman has ranked second in baseball in errors committed in each of the last two seasons, with 21 and 19, accounting for nearly one-third of all the errors committed in his career.

One of them happened in Saturday night’s game against the Braves. With a runner on second and two outs in the top of the fourth, Andrelton Simmons hit a ground ball to Zimmerman, seemingly an easy third out of the inning. Zimmerman, however, made an awkward-looking, high-trajectory throw to first baseman Adam LaRoche that pulled him off the bag, allowing Simmons to reach safely and for the runner to score safely. Zimmerman later exited the game with shoulder soreness.

Zimmerman has never been Mr. Dependable at third base, despite winning a Gold Glove award in 2009. But his issues were exacerbated by off-season shoulder surgery in 2012, hampering his mechanics, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. The cold weather Zimmerman has had to deal with to begin the 2014 season hasn’t helped either, but Zimmerman is careful with the words so as not to use it as an excuse.

“For anyone that has something, cold is never really a good thing,” Zimmerman said. “Some days feel better than others, whether it’s warm, cold, whatever. But that’s everyone in baseball. I don’t like really saying things about that, because everyone goes through stuff. It’s not really an excuse. Everyone who plays baseball has something like that.”

The Nationals have had a bit of consternation over Zimmerman’s issues at the hot corner, but ultimately remain optimistic the 29-year-old can continue making progress.

Zimmerman admits that he’s never going to feel the way he did early in his career again, and has spent some time learning the ins and outs at the position at the opposite side of the diamond. The Nationals and LaRoche would both have to agree to execute 2015’s $15 million option while the club is in the first year of a six-year, $100 million extension with Zimmerman. Extracting as much value out of Zimmerman as possible, even if it means moving him to first base, behooves the Nationals. Zimmerman says he could “definitely play” at first base in a game if necessary.

Video: Nelson Cruz hits second-longest home run of 2016

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 14:  Nelson Cruz #23 of the Seattle Mariners celebrates his solo homerun with Daniel Vogelbach #20 of the Seattle Mariners to take a 2-1 lead over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the seventh inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 14, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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There’s certainly never a bad time to hit a home run, but when you get the opportunity to crush a triple-deck, 493-foot shot off of Tyler Duffey, you should take it. With the Mariners down 2-0 to the Twins in the fourth inning, Cruz hammered a fastball to deep left field for his 39th long ball of the season — and the second-longest home run hit in 2016, to boot.

It doesn’t hurt that the Mariners are 1.5 games back of a playoff spot, although they’ll have to oust the Blue Jays, Orioles, or Tigers to get a wild card. They’ve gone 3-3 in the last week, dropping two consecutive series to the Astros and Blue Jays and taking their series opener against Minnesota 10-1 on Friday night.

Cruz, for his part, entered Saturday’s game with a .299/.337/.610 batting line and six home runs in September. According to ESPN.com’s Home Run Tracker, Cruz sits behind Edwin Encarnacion and Mike Napoli with 13 “no-doubt” home runs in 2016, third-most among major league sluggers. It’s safe to say he can add Saturday’s moonshot to that list.

Marlins’ outfielder and undisputed home run king Giancarlo Stanton remains untouched at the top of the Statcast leaderboard with a 504-ft. home run, and it’s difficult to envision any slugger reaching beyond that before the end of the season. Even so, Cruz won’t need to clear 500 feet to extend an impressive hitting record. One more home run will put the 36-year-old at 40 on the year, making 2016 his third consecutive season with at least 40 homers, and his second such season doing so in Seattle.

Report: John Farrell won’t rule out a postseason return for Pablo Sandoval

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 11:  Pablo Sandoval #48 of the Boston Red Sox looks on from the dugout before the Red Sox home opener against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on April 11, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Orioles defeat the Red Sox 9-7.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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It’s been a strange season for Red Sox’ third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who lost his starting role in spring training, went 0-for-6 in three regular season appearances, and underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder in May. That was the last the Red Sox were supposed to hear about Sandoval until spring 2017, when he was expected to rejoin the team after a lengthy rehab stint in Florida.

On Saturday, manager John Farrell was telling a different story. Per MLB.com’s Sam Blum, Farrell hinted that Sandoval could return to the team as soon as October, albeit in a very limited capacity.

At the time of the surgery, it was all looking at the start of next Spring Training,” Farrell said. “We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves here, but at the same time, we compliment him for the work he’s put in, the way he’s responded to the rehab, the way he’s worked himself into better condition. We’re staying open-minded.

If the 30-year-old does return in 2016, don’t expect him to look like the three-home run hitter of the 2012 World Series. Should the Red Sox lose another player to injury, Sandoval might be called on as a backup option, but he’s unlikely to see substantial playing time under any other circumstances. Despite making two appearances at DH in the instructional league, Sandoval has not started at third base since undergoing surgery, though Farrell noted that a return to third base would be the next logical step in his recovery process.

Sandoval has yet to hit his stride within the Red Sox’ organization after hitting career-worst numbers in 2015. According to FanGraphs, his Offensive Runs Above Average (Off) plummeted to -20.2, contributing approximately two wins fewer than the average offensive player in 2015. (The Diamondbacks’ Chris Owings held the lowest Off mark in 2015, with -26.3 runs below average.) Sandoval has not appeared in a postseason race since the Giants’ championship run in 2014.

Heading into Saturday evening, the Red Sox could clinch their spot in the postseason with a win over the Rays and an Orioles’ loss.