Quote of the Day: Nationals lose their 'prize pupil'

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Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, on Jordan Zimmermann needing Tommy John elbow surgery:
The small bit of sunshine is that there’s an 85 to 90 percent success rate with pitchers recovering to their pre-injury status after Tommy John surgery. It’s a much higher success rate than shoulder surgery. We’ve got a lot of depth in our young starting pitching, but Jordan was the prize pupil. We’ll have him back, full go, for spring training 2011, though he may pitch sometime in 2010. But you’ll see the real Zimmermann in 2011.
Rizzo is right to call Zimmermann the Nationals’ prize pupil among young pitchers, at least until Stephen Strasburg possibly signs later this week. Zimmermann put together an extremely promising 16-start debut, posting a 92/29 K/BB ratio in 91 innings despite pitching some of that time with elbow soreness. For a 23-year-old rookie who essentially skipped Triple-A that qualifies as excellent, so hopefully Rizzo is also right about Zimmerman making a full recovery for 2011.
My guess is that Rizzo quoting the “85-90 percent success rate with pitchers recovering to their pre-injury status after Tommy John surgery” is a slight overstatement, but the surgery definitely has an amazing success rate at this point. However, as a Twins fan who’s watched Francisco Liriano sadly go from the best pitcher on the planet to struggling just to be another mid-rotation starter after going under the knife I can tell you that nothing is guaranteed.

Yasmani Grandal played himself out of NLCS Game 4

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Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal has not had a good postseason. Entering Monday night’s NLCS Game 3, he was batting .111/.238/.278 in 21 trips to the plate across the NLDS and the first two games of the NLCS.

Defense has also been an issue for Grandal. In Game 1 of the NLCS, Grandal was on the hook for two passed balls. In the sixth inning of Game 3 Monday night, he couldn’t corral a curve in the dirt, which allowed Travis Shaw to score the Brewers’ second run of the night. Starter Walker Buehler was charged with a wild pitch. In the eighth, with Ryan Braun on first base and Shaw at the plate, Grandal again couldn’t corral a pitch in the dirt, allowing Braun to move to second base. Fortunately for the Dodgers, Alex Wood was able to escape the inning with no damage.

Manager Dave Roberts said that Austin Barnes, not Grandal, will start behind the plate for Game 4 on Tuesday night, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. That comes as no surprise at all. When Grandal struck out with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, Dodger fans regaled him with boos.

Barnes will be an upgrade defensively, but he’s lacking with the bat. He had an 0-for-3 performance in Game 2, though with an RBI, bringing his career slash line in the playoffs to .200/.281/.300 across 57 plate appearances. During the regular season, his career 100 adjusted OPS is a fair bit behind Grandal’s 115. Roberts is trading offense for defense in Game 4. Rich Hill will get the start opposite the Brewers’ Gio González.