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.

Clayton Kershaw might return to the Dodgers’ rotation next week

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Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw is nearing his return to the mound, according to club manager Dave Roberts. Both Kershaw (left biceps tendinitis) and fellow lefty Rich Hill (left middle finger blister) are scheduled to toss simulated games on Saturday; depending on the outcome, Roberts says Kershaw could forgo a minor league assignment and slot back into the rotation by Thursday.

Kershaw, 30, was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis as the team closed out their Mexico Series at the start of the month. He has not made a start in several weeks, but was finally able to resume throwing on Sunday and managed to get through two successful bullpen sessions. Though Dodgers’ ace hasn’t been completely injury-free over his 11-year career in the majors, this is the first significant issue he’s had with his pitching arm so far. The team is expected to take every precaution with the lefty, and will likely limit him to just four innings during Saturday’s simulated game.

Prior to his injury, Kershaw was working on another dominant run with the club, sporting a 2.86 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 through his first 44 innings of the season. While Kershaw, Hill and left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu served their respective terms on the disabled list this month, the Dodgers utilized a combination of relievers Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart, both of whom impressed during their limited time in the rotation.