Ryan Zimmerman has been having trouble with his throwing mechanics

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Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman has committed 135 errors in his ten-year career, and a whopping 97 of them — 72 percent — have been throwing errors. Zimmerman has ranked second in baseball in errors committed in each of the last two seasons, with 21 and 19, accounting for nearly one-third of all the errors committed in his career.

One of them happened in Saturday night’s game against the Braves. With a runner on second and two outs in the top of the fourth, Andrelton Simmons hit a ground ball to Zimmerman, seemingly an easy third out of the inning. Zimmerman, however, made an awkward-looking, high-trajectory throw to first baseman Adam LaRoche that pulled him off the bag, allowing Simmons to reach safely and for the runner to score safely. Zimmerman later exited the game with shoulder soreness.

Zimmerman has never been Mr. Dependable at third base, despite winning a Gold Glove award in 2009. But his issues were exacerbated by off-season shoulder surgery in 2012, hampering his mechanics, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. The cold weather Zimmerman has had to deal with to begin the 2014 season hasn’t helped either, but Zimmerman is careful with the words so as not to use it as an excuse.

“For anyone that has something, cold is never really a good thing,” Zimmerman said. “Some days feel better than others, whether it’s warm, cold, whatever. But that’s everyone in baseball. I don’t like really saying things about that, because everyone goes through stuff. It’s not really an excuse. Everyone who plays baseball has something like that.”

The Nationals have had a bit of consternation over Zimmerman’s issues at the hot corner, but ultimately remain optimistic the 29-year-old can continue making progress.

Zimmerman admits that he’s never going to feel the way he did early in his career again, and has spent some time learning the ins and outs at the position at the opposite side of the diamond. The Nationals and LaRoche would both have to agree to execute 2015’s $15 million option while the club is in the first year of a six-year, $100 million extension with Zimmerman. Extracting as much value out of Zimmerman as possible, even if it means moving him to first base, behooves the Nationals. Zimmerman says he could “definitely play” at first base in a game if necessary.

Cardinals move Luke Weaver to the bullpen

Luke Weaver
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Cardinals right-hander Luke Weaver has been reassigned to the bullpen, manager Mike Shildt announced Sunday. Fellow righty Daniel Poncedeleon will take his spot in the rotation for the time being, though it’s still unclear whether Weaver’s demotion is a permanent one or not.

Still, it’s not the most surprising of moves, especially as the club advances toward a potential playoff berth in October. Weaver, 24, has struggled to find his groove this season after putting up a 6-11 record in 24 starts and a 4.67 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 125 1/3 innings in 2018. During two of his last three outings in August, he was pulled before the fifth inning, citing mechanical issues with his delivery that may be impacting his fastball location and delivery and having an adverse effect on his results — and those of the team — as well.

Poncedeleon, on the other hand, appears primed to take on more responsibility following an impressive run with the Cardinals this summer. He maintained a sub-3.00 ERA through his first six appearances, issuing four runs, nine walks, and 10 strikeouts over 17 2/3 innings. While he hasn’t handled more than one start in the big leagues, his track record in the minors speaks to his ability to get consistent results on the mound: he went 9-3 in 17 starts at Triple-A Memphis with a 2.15 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 10.1 SO/9 across 92 innings. He’s scheduled to cover for Weaver on Tuesday against the Pirates and will presumably continue to pitch out of the rotation for the remaining six weeks of the season.