Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Inactive Zimmermann enjoys experience

NEW YORK — Jordan Zimmermann would rather be pitching tonight in the All-Star Game than watching from the NL dugout, relegated to spectator due to a lingering neck injury. But make no mistake, the Nationals right-hander is happy to be here and is soaking in every moment of the experience.

"Just being in the clubhouse around these guys," he said. "You play against them, but to hang out with them and meet some new guys, it's going to be fun. And then obviously the Home Run Derby and the game are going to be fun to watch."

Selected to his first Midsummer Classic after going 12-4 with a 2.58 ERA through the season's first half, Zimmermann had to ask off the active roster when team doctors told him he needed to rest his neck for a few days to risk further injury.

It's still considered a minor injury, one Zimmermann insists he can pitch through, but one that is requiring more treatment each passing day.

"It's just like you have a kink in your neck every single day," he said. "Every morning, I wake up and it's stiff and sore. As the day goes on, it gets better. That leads us to think it's just muscle. ... Once in a while, I feel it when I pitch. Or sometimes if there's a guy on first and I've got to look over, I can feel it a little bit. But nothing I can't pitch through."

Though he's only watching the festivities in New York this week instead of participating in them, Zimmermann felt it was important he attend the All-Star Game and partake in all of the events, joining teammate Bryce Harper and manager Davey Johnson on the NL side.

"I was planning on coming the whole time," he said. "We thought the best thing would be to take a little break here. I still wanted to come. Davey said he wanted me here. So I was happy for that."

What has Zimmermann most been looking forward to about his first All-Star experience? Spending time with fellow All-Stars from rival clubs, guys he doesn't normally get to talk to about pitching and life in the big leagues.

"All the pitchers," he said. "Clayton Kershaw is going to be a fun one to sit down with. Cliff Lee. Just all the pitchers, to hang out with them. ... I watched some of these guys in the minors coming up. Just to be here with them is a great honor."

The soft-spoken Zimmermann doesn't usually seek the spotlight, but he has become more and more well-known (and feared) within baseball circles. No longer overshadowed by Nationals rotation mates Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez, the 27-year-old Wisconsin native is adjusting to the extra attention he now receives.

Answering the same questions over and over for 45 minutes from reporters at the All-Star Game might not be his idea of heaven, but Zimmermann knows it's a small price to pay in exchange for the first All-Star experience of his life.

"I think once I got to the big leagues, that was definitely a goal of mine," he said of being named an All-Star. "I think that's everyone's goal. And by the time they get to the big leagues, that's the next step: You'd like to make an All-Star Game. It's a great honor and I'm happy to be here."


Theophilus T. S. said...

I don't understand why, with Zimmermann hurting/injured, the Nats are resetting the rotation after the break. His last three starts have been less than distinguished; his neck hurts every day; we remember how he faltered last August. Why don't they let him sit as long as they possibly can, i.e., let him pitch in the five-slot? It's not as if he'll be pitching on "regular" rest on Saturday (seven days between starts). Be sure he's healthy, and then try to keep him healthy.

baseballswami said...

I read that it is a slightly bulging disc. That is not good- it will be difficult to keep it under control and can be painful. He made need to miss a start or two along the way. He is such a bulldog, though, and will want to keep on pitching. Neck injuries are nothing to mess with.

hiramhover said...


It's Stras-Gio-JZimm on Fri-Sat-Sun, so for JZimm that's 10 days since his last start. They could only push him back 2 more days anyway, til Tuesday, when Det's spot will come up, and Det needs his rest and rehab too.

baseballswami said...

Just have to keep these guys healthy after the break!!! I hope Lee Kuntz enjoys this experience, but I also hope he is bored tonight. Glad he is around JZim to keep tabs on him. So aside from Davey's usual funny quips, will he actually be doing anything? So surprised there is not more being made of this being his farewell tour. Crickets.

Theophilus T. S. said...

All things being equal, I'd rather extend Z'mann's time off than Detwiler's. Detwiler's already been off, what, close to twenty days? Cumulatively, that extra day off for him doesn't mean that much.

Moreover, my concern about Z'mann stems only in part from his neck. Much of it arises from when he went flat as a pancake around this time last year (blamed on various things, including fatigue, "dead arm," etc.). He needs to be very well-refreshed, in my mind, because this team needs eight-ten more wins from him this season. If necessary, send him back to WI for the weekend to catch a couple of bass.

Section 222 said...

Were the actual results of the players/coaches votes for the ASG ever reported anywhere?

baseballswami said...

Don't know. Also , does anyone know how many votes DesiIn13 ended up getting? I am already annoyed with Bryce lost, Desi didn't make it type mentality. Bryce may not have won that gaudy belt , but I am quite sure something good was accomplished. Desi did not go to NY( f-- Ing Tulo), but surely he got many, many votes and is aware now of how the fans feel about him. Seems like the kind of guy that would be motivated by that. I just get tired of the attitude that one person wins and every single other person is a pathetic loser.

Sec. 1 D, seat 10 T, My Sofa said...

Swami, was this Post story the bulging disk source?

"Zimmermann said his neck remains sore, especially in the mornings when he wakes up, but it felt slightly better on Monday. He has passed all the medical tests he has been given. It’s unclear what the injury is exactly, but he noted it is a “little bulge in the disc.”"

Get Your Re(n)d On said...

Little bulges can still be bad things. That's what she said.

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