On third thought, sure, Ryan Zimmerman may play left field for the Nats

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First it was reported that Ryan Zimmerman was learning to play left field when he came back.

Then Zimmerman denied that.

Now, Mike Rizzo goes on the radio and says a whole lotta stuff which makes it sound like, yeah, Zimmerman is going to play left field:

When asked if it was reasonable to deduce that could entail Zimmerman playing in left, Rizzo responded, “I’ve seen him run around out there. He looks pretty darn good out there for me, and a guy with his athletic ability can play anywhere on the field.”

“I scouted him as a shortstop at University of Virginia, and there was talk at draft time that this guy could play shortstop if he had to,” he said. “We all know he’s a Gold Glove-caliber third baseman, he’s taken balls at first base, he’s taken fly balls in the outfield. He’s a guy who can play anywhere, and more importantly, is willing to do anything and play anywhere, and do anything he has to do to help us win games, and that’s a huge statement from a veteran player with the caliber of Ryan Zimmerman.”

If I had to guess I’d say that the Nats really want him to play left field. And if there is any uncertainty there it’s because either (a) Zimmerman didn’t want to tell people he was doing it before the Nats made a decision; or (b) Zimmerman is not that hot on the idea. Or at least wasn’t a few weeks ago when he first started shagging flies out there.

Given all of the Nats’ injuries and the ability to maximize offensive output once Bryce Harper comes back, it would be really great for the Nats if Zimmerman could play and respectable left field.

Dusty Baker expects Stephen Strasburg to make his next scheduled start

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Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg lasted only two innings in Sunday’s start against the Diamondbacks. The right-hander reportedly had trouble getting loose and it showed: he yielded a hit and three walks to the 10 batters he faced. According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Strasburg had “some nerve impingement that has been alleviated.”

Manager Dusty Baker expects Strasburg to make his next scheduled start on Saturday at home against the Rockies, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports. Strasburg was examined by doctors, who deemed him to be in good shape — enough to not warrant undergoing an MRI.

Through 20 starts, Strasburg owns a 3.25 ERA with a 141/37 K/BB ratio across 121 2/3 innings. Though the injury scare isn’t what the Nationals hoped for, he’s done well in the first year of his seven-year, $175 million contract extension.

John Lackey hit four White Sox batters today

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Cubs starter John Lackey didn’t have his best stuff on Tuesday afternoon at Wrigley Field against the White Sox. The right-hander hit four White Sox batters over the course of five innings. He yielded just two runs, though, on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts. He left with a 4-2 lead.

Lackey hit Jose Abreu with one out in the first inning, then hit Abreu again in the fifth. He then hit Matt Davidson and Yoan Moncada shortly thereafter. Chris Beck relieved Carlos Rodon for the White Sox in the bottom of the fifth and promptly hit Ian Happ with a fastball to lead off the frame. Home plate umpire Lance Barksdale issued warnings to both benches and the beanings stopped.

So, how often do pitchers hit four batters in a game? Not that often! The last to do it was the Reds’ Josh Smith on July 4, 2015 against the Brewers. Before that, it was the Nationals’ Livan Hernandez on July 20, 2005 against the Rockies. Lackey is only the ninth pitcher to hit four batters in a game since 2000 and the 26th since 1913. The only other Cubs pitcher to do it besides Lackey was Moe Drabowsky in 1957.