Ryan Zimmerman is “looking forward to the challenge” of being the Nationals’ first baseman

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In making no effort to re-sign free agent Adam LaRoche the Nationals signaled that first base is Ryan Zimmerman’s new full-time position after shoulder problems forced a move for the former Gold Glove third baseman.

Nationals manager Matt Williams, who played 17 seasons as a third baseman and logged just 106 career innings at first base, told Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com that he’s “pretty confident” Zimmerman will fare well across the diamond because “he’s an athlete … he can do it.”

Zimmerman said he plans to put in a lot of work at first base during spring training after getting only a crash course there previously:

That’s going to take a lot of work. Everyone thinks you just go over to first base and kind of hide him there, but it’s a tough position. There’s a lot of things I have to learn, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.

Zimmerman has five years and $74 million remaining on his contract and the Nationals’ outfield is set with Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth flanking Denard Span, so one way or another it’ll work for him at first base.

Nationals’ Strasburg ejected for arguing from the stands

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — A pitcher getting ejected for arguing balls and strikes – on his day off? And, from the stands?

Nationals star Stephen Strasburg earned one of baseball’s most unique ejections – probably ever – in the third inning of Washington’s game against the New York Mets on Thursday.

Strasburg was sitting in Section 121 at Citi Field in this socially distant season because he’s scheduled to start Friday against Baltimore Orioles. He was apparently unhappy with the strike zone of plate umpire Carlos Torres after Austin Voth‘s 2-2 pitch to Pete Alonso on the outside corner was ruled a ball.

Moments later, Torres ejected last year’s World Series MVP, though it took a few seconds to realize who had been tossed.

Someone was heard yelling: “You’re (expletive) brutal” shortly before television cameras captured Strasburg doffing his cap as he walked up the staircase on his way out of the park.

“Sorry, folks – sorry, FCC,” Mets broadcaster Gary Cohen said on SNY.

The usually stoic Strasburg appeared to be grinning underneath his blue mask as he made his exit.