May 28, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (11) stands outside of the batting cage prior to the game against the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Zimmerman ready to play left field for Nationals


The arm problems of Ryan Zimmerman have been well-documented, as the Nationals’ third baseman has struggled with control and strength as he throws from the hot-corner. Strangely enough, though, it wasn’t an arm injury that forced Zimmerman out of action.

The 29-year old was injured sliding into a base, breaking his thumb. The time off may have afforded him some opportunity to clear the air with himself and figure out how best to proceed with his career. As he reflected on the last couple of years, he came to a realization.

Earlier this season, the Nationals toyed with the idea of putting Zimmerman at first base instead of the hot corner, with the idea that his range could still be used while putting practically zero stress on his throwing arm. Zimmerman, however, doesn’t think that move would pay the best dividends for the team. Instead, another corner spot could soon become Zim’s home. Thomas Boswell of The Washington Post spoke with the franchise player.

“I’ve come to some self-realizations. I’ll be the first to say it. I’ve never shied away from the truth. The last two years have been rough for me [at third base]. I’ve had to do an excess of work to be able to do what I used to do naturally,” said Zimmerman, alone at his locker. “People keep asking me if six weeks off will help my [surgically repaired] shoulder. Six weeks off? Go six years back, maybe. It’s tough. It’s bone and joint. I’m comfortable playing wherever it helps the team. That’s why we’re all here. Down the road, left field is probably better than first base for me.”

That summation may come, well, out of left field, as Zimmerman’s arm strength could still be a factor as he plays the corner outfield. He has been shagging flies out in left field, though, with the help of manager Matt Williams. According to Boswell, the Gold Glove third-baseman has looked comfortable, if not natural, at the position.

Usual left-fielder, Bryce Harper, is also dealing with a thumb injury, also suffered while sliding into a base. Harper will be out longer than Zimmerman, however, so the Nats may see a familiar, new face in left field.

Tags: Washington Nationals