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Ryan Zimmerman was hurt during spring training after all

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Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman had a weird spring training. He played in exactly one Grapefruit league game, and that was on March 2, not long after games got underway. For the rest of his time in Florida he was totally absent from the Nats’ big league spring games, playing instead on the back fields in sim games and in minor league contests.

That pattern usually suggests an injury and I and most fans suspected that he was hurt. The Nats insisted otherwise, however, repeatedly saying that Zimmerman was simply doing a different sort of routine. They said it so often that they convinced the reporters covering the team that it was true. Indeed, some of them even got a bit prickly about it when fans said they weren’t buying it:

It all seemed weird, but Zimmerman broke camp with the team and, about a month into the regular season, a big story came out about how it was all just a novel approach for a veteran in spring training. At that point it made little sense to continue to be skeptical. I mean, what kind of people would continue to lie about such a thing a month after the fact? Especially when, since he was playing, it turned out to be pretty inconsequential?

Based on this report from Jon Heyman today, it’s probably worth asking that question again:

While it was written that the Nats weren’t using Zimmerman in games this spring as a grand experiment to preserve older veterans, and at the least the Nats never corrected the record, the reality is that Zimmerman missed almost all spring training with a calf injury. He got at-bats on the back field in simulated games, but in those at-bats, he just got at-bats and didn’t run to first base, or certainly run the bases. It’s a little unusual this went undetected as some other teams began to wonder whether the Nats’ grand experiment – which wasn’t really an experiment at all – might be worth trying for their own players.

Why on Earth did the Nats lie about this? That’s some downright Soviet stuff right there. I hope the reporters who got duped ask the team about it.

In the meantime, Ryan Zimmerman is hitting .217/.280/.409 and has not played a game since May 9. Viva transparency.

The Players’ Weekend uniforms are terrible

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The Yankees and the Dodgers have a storied World Series history, having met in the Fall Classic 11 times. Part of what made those falls so classic was the livery worn by each club.

The Yankees’ uniforms have gone unchanged since 1936. The Dodgers, though changing cities in 1958, have had the same basic, classic look with only minor derivations for almost as long. You can’t even say the names of these teams without picturing pinstripes, those red Dodgers numbers, both teams’ clean road grays, the Yankees navy and the Dodgers’ Dodger blue.

They looked like a couple of expansion teams last night however, at least sartorially speaking.

As you probably know it’s Players’ Weekend this weekend, and teams all over the league wore either all black or all white with player-chosen nicknames on the back. We’ve had the nicknames for a couple of years now and that’s fine, but the black and white combo is new. It doesn’t look great, frankly. I riffed on that on Twitter yesterday a good bit. But beyond my mere distaste for the ensembles, they present a pretty problematic palette, too.

For one thing the guys in black blend in with the umpires. Quick, look at these infields and tell me who’s playing and who’s officiating:

The white batting helmets look especially bad:

But some guys — like Enrique Hernandez of the Dodgers, realized that pine tar makes the white helmets look super special:

There was also a general issue with the white-on-white uniforms in that it’s rather hard to read the names and the numbers on the backs of the jerseys. This was especially true during the Cubs-Nationals game in the afternoon sunlight. You’ll note this as a much bigger problem on Sunday. It’s all rather ironic, of course, that the players have been given the right to put fun, quirky nicknames on the backs of their jerseys but no one can really see them.

The SNY booth was reading many people’s minds last night, noting how much Mad Magazine “Spy vs. Spy” energy this is throwing off:

I’ll also note that if you’re flipping between games or looking at highlights on social media it’s super hard to even tell which team is which — and even what game’s highlights you’re seeing — just by looking which, you know, is sort of the point of having uniforms in the first place.

I’m glad the players have a weekend in which they’re allowed to wear what they want. I just wish they’d wear something better.