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.

Report: MLB likely to unilaterally implement pace of play changes

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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that talks between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players’ Association concerning pace of play changes have stalled, which makes it more likely that commissioner Rob Manfred unilaterally implements the changes he seeks. Those changes include a pitch clock and a restriction on catcher mound visits.

Manfred said, “My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players. But if we can’t get an agreement, we are going to have rule changes in 2018, one way or the other.”

The players have made several suggestions aimed at reducing the length of games, such as amending replay review rules, strictly monitoring down time between innings, and bringing back bullpen carts.

It is believed that MLB is proposing a pitch clock of 20 seconds. If a pitcher takes too long between pitches, he will have a ball added to the count. If the hitter takes too long, then he will have a strike added to the count.