Carlos Zambrano has 21 walks in 21 innings this spring

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Lost in any optimism about manager Ozzie Guillen being able to keep Carlos Zambrano’s freakouts to a minimum with the Marlins this season is that the right-hander simply doesn’t throw as hard as he used to and still can’t consistently get the ball over the plate with the diminished raw stuff.

Zambrano walked seven batters yesterday, giving him 21 total walks in 21.2 innings this spring, and his ERA stands at 6.23.

Now, in fairness spring training numbers are somewhere between worthless and marginally useful, but given how Zambrano’s performance has declined in recent years whatever miracles Guillen can work on him as a person can only pay off so much if he’s throwing in the high-90s and walking everyone.

Zambrano has averaged 4.1 walks per nine innings for his career, but made up for that terrible control by typically striking out more than 8.0 per nine innings and limiting homers. However, last season his strikeouts fell to a career-low 6.2 per nine innings, his homers allowed rose to a career-high 1.2 per nine innings, and his average fastball clocked in at 90.2 miles per hour. In other words, Zambrano’s personality and behavior are only part of the problem at this point.

Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg’s status for 2023 ‘a mystery’

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — Stephen Strasburg‘s status for 2023 is up in the air after a series of injuries that limited him to one start this season, Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said.

“It’s still a little bit of a mystery,” Rizzo said about the 2019 World Series MVP before the Nationals were scheduled to play a doubleheader at the New York Mets. “I know that he’s working hard strengthening his core and the other parts of his body. We’re just going to have to see. With the type of surgery and rehab that he’s had, it’s unfamiliar to us. It’s unfamiliar to a lot of people. We’re going to have to take it day by day.”

The 34-year-old right-hander has thrown a total of 31 1/3 innings across just eight starts over the past three seasons combined. He had carpal tunnel surgery in 2020, then needed an operation to correct thoracic outlet syndrome in 2021.

After his only start of 2022, he went back on the injured list with a stress reaction of the ribs.

“We’ll have to see where the rehab process takes us later on in the winter,” Rizzo said. “We’re going to monitor him. He’s local, so we’ll see him all the time and we’ll see where he’s at going into spring training mode.”

Strasburg is a three-time All-Star who signed a $245 million contract after helping Washington win a championship in 2019.

He is 113-62 with a 3.24 ERA for his career.

Meeting with reporters toward the end of a rough season – Washington entered with a majors-worst and Nationals-worst record of 55-104 and shipped away the team’s best player, outfielder Juan Soto, at the trade deadline – Rizzo talked about doing “an autopsy of the organization.”

“I look at the season as a disappointment. I’ve always said that you are what your record says you are, and our record says we’re the worst team in the league right now. It’s hard to argue with that,” Rizzo said. “The flip side of that is we’re in a process.”

Rizzo and manager Dave Martinez were given contract extensions during the season. Martinez said his entire coaching staff will return next year.