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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.

Dodgers acquire Manny Machado from Orioles for five minor leaguers

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The Orioles and Dodgers finally completed the trade involving Manny Machado, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports. The Orioles will receive five prospects from the Dodgers: Yusniel Diaz, Dean Kremer, Zach Pop, Rylan Bannon, and Breyvic Valera.

Machado, 26, is in the final year of his contract, so this is currently a rental for the first-place Dodgers. Machado ended the first half batting .315/.387/.575 with 24 home runs, 65 RBI, 48 runs scored, and eight stolen bases in 413 plate appearances. In Los Angeles, he will handle shortstop, allowing Chris Taylor to move over to second base.

MLB Pipeline rated Diaz as the Dodgers’ No. 4 prospect and No. 84 across baseball. Kremer was No. 27 in the Dodgers’ system and Bannon was No. 28.

Diaz, 21, is considered the centerpiece of the trade. The outfielder hit .314/.428/.477 with 20 extra-base hits, 30 RBI, and 36 runs scored in 264 plate appearances at Double-A Tulsa this season.

Kremer, 22, was selected by the Dodgers in the 14th round of the 2016 draft. He spent most of his season with High-A Rancho Cucamonga before earning a promotion to Tulsa earlier this month. Overall, in 17 starts, the right-hander posted a 3.03 ERA with a 125/29 K/BB ratio in 86 innings.

Pop, 21, was selected by the Dodgers in the seventh round of the 2017 draft. He has spent his season between Rancho Cucamonga and Single-A Great Lakes. Overall, he compiled a 1.04 ERA with 47 strikeouts and 13 walks in 43 1/3 innings of relief.

Bannon, 22, was selected by the Dodgers in the eighth round of the 2017 draft. With Rancho Cucamonga this season, the infielder batted .296/.402/.559 with 20 home runs and 61 RBI in 403 PA.

Valera, 26, has appeared in 20 games at the major league level for the Dodgers this season, batting a meager .172 with a .445 OPS in 34 PA. Valera has versatility, having played second base, third base, and corner outfield this year while also having experience in center field, shortstop, and first base.