After injuries and throwing issues derailed Ryan Zimmerman‘s work in the field in 2013, questions remain about his future at the position for the Washington Nationals.
Once a fixture on Web Gems, the ‘Top 10,’ and any other highlight countdown for his barehanded pick-ups and running throws, Zimmerman found himself struggling to make basic throws on routine groundballs. For now the Nationals remain committed to Zimmerman at third base in 2014, but they are also laying the groundwork for a change in the future.
The Nationals plan to have Zimmerman take some grounders at first base this spring. If all goes well, he could make a Grapefruit League appearance or two on the other side of the diamond. And if all that goes well, he could make an occasional start at first base this season, giving Adam LaRoche a day off against a tough left-hander.
The obvious question: Is this the start of a full-fledged position switch, one that has been surmised for several years?”
There is nothing to worry about with Zimmerman’s bat: even with some ups and downs in 2013, he batted .275/.344/.465 for the season. As for his work in the field, he committed a career-high 21 errors (15 of them throwing errors). Obviously the Nationals would like to see him clean up that part of his game, but they appear ready to move quickly on a back-up plan if he doesn’t.