Play of the Day: Ryan Zimmerman avoids bat shard, starts double play

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Much was made about Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman’s inability to make throws recently before it was revealed he has been dealing with an arthritic shoulder. The shoulder didn’t appear to be an impediment at least for one play he made on Friday night against the Braves.

In the bottom of the fifth inning with a runner on first base and no outs, Nationals starter Tanner Roark got B.J. Upton to swing at a fastball high and inside. Upton offered, sending a weak grounder Zimmerman’s way. Upton’s bat broke and a giant shard was flung with a frightening amount of velocity in nearly the same path as the ball. Zimmerman ducked, fielded the ball, and threw to second base from his knee. Anthony Rendon whipped it around to first baseman Adam LaRoche just in time to complete the double play.

You can watch the incredible play here.

Zimmerman also launched a three-run home run in the fifth inning just for good measure. The Nationals, however, couldn’t hang on, losing 7-6 to the Braves in 10 innings.

Arizona Diamondbacks, Tony La Russa part ways

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The Arizona Diamondbacks just announced that they are parting ways with Tony La Russa at the end of the month.

La Russa served as the club’s “Chief Baseball Officer” from 2015-16. For the last year he was styled “Chief Baseball Analyst.” That’s a nice way to saying that he was pushed aside when the club fired his hand-picked general manager Dave Stewart and brought in Mike Hazen to run the club a year ago. La Russa was stripped of his powers, but was told he could hang around as an advisor. Most didn’t think he’d actually take the club up on that offer, but he did. By all accounts he was a pretty unobtrusive presence around the team this year, offering counsel and insight when asked but not making things awkward the way having the old boss around might do.

I suppose that can only last so long, however. The Dbacks had considerably more success without La Russa in charge in 2017 than they had with him in charge the previous couple of years. At some point you just part ways. That point is now.