Shoulder problems force Ryan Zimmerman to change throwing style

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In an attempt to lessen his chronic shoulder problems Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is altering his throwing motion to avoid over-the-top throws. Zimmerman has done this occasionally in the past, on certain plays, but now he’s giving the three-quarters arm slot a full-time try.

Here’s what he told James Wagner of the Washington Post:

I’ve gone through this for awhile now, so you can’t get too relieved. It’s a constant work in progress. It’s tough. But for now, we found something that I think has a chance to work without hurting. So that’s a relief. Because I want to be out there and I want to help the team win. When I can’t do that, it’s frustrating.

Nationals manager Matt Williams, himself a third baseman, thinks it could work because Zimmerman’s new arm slot isn’t far off from Williams’ arm slot as a player.

Still, if Zimmerman is at the point where he’s having to manage pain on a daily basis, local media is reporting on how many pain-free throws he was able to make in pregame warmups, and literally every throw with his normal arm slot has a chance to turn into a major setback … well, it’s not a good situation. And, seemingly, not a long-term solution.

Video: Starling Marte refuses to take first base after being hit by pitch

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Pirates outfielder Starling Marte was hit on the hand by a Jack Flaherty pitch in the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Cardinals. Rather than take first base, Marte — who came to the plate with a runner on first base — insisted to home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman that the ball hit the knob of the bat, not his hand. Marte was allowed to continue his at-bat, though manager Clint Hurdle came out to discuss the ruling with Dreckman. Marte eventually grounded into a fielder’s choice. He then got caught attempting to steal second base and the Pirates scored zero runs in the inning.

According to Baseball Prospectus, a team that has runners on first and second with no outs is expected to score 1.55 runs. Having a runner on first base with one out yields 0.56 expected runs. Marte essentially cost his team a run by rejecting first base. Oops.