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Jordan Zimmermann takes next step

Jordan Zimmermann crept closer to his 2010 Nationals debut last night with his third rehab outing with Class A Potomac, allowing no earned runs in four innings. Zimmermann allowed one unearned run and surrendered six hits and no walks while striking out four batters in a 3-1 loss to Kinston.

Zimmermann threw two innings in his first rehab assignment on July 3 and has added an inning in each successive outing. Zimmerman has yet to allow an earned run in nine total innings. An even better sign may be his walk total in those nine innings: zero. Zimmermann, who became known for his precision -- he walked 29 and struck out 92 in 91 1/3 innings in his rookie season -- has seemingly maintained his control through his ligament-replacement operation and exhausting rehab.

Last night, Zimmermann threw 53 pitches and afterward called it an "excellent" outing, accoridng to Joe Conroy of the News & Messenger. He threw 12 pitches in the bullpen in order to reach his allotment of 65, according to Conroy.

The Nationals plan for Zimmermann to make his debut in the first two weeks of August. By all measures, last night's outing only brought him closer to his first start in the majors since last July 18.

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 15, 2010; 8:20 AM ET
 
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Next: Steve McCatty supportive of Stephen Strasburg's contributions to calling game

Comments

Looks promising, though I wonder, how significant it is that he gives up six hits in only four innings - to single-A batters, in his third start?

Posted by: gilbertbp | July 15, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

This is great news.

Posted by: egoodman8 | July 15, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Time to start getting excited for Zimmermas at Nationals Park?

Posted by: MStreet1 | July 15, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure they are very aware, however I am concerned that Jordan may be "rushing" to get back. Typical TJS takes a year to recover, right?

Posted by: bzerante1 | July 15, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

gilbertbp:
In a rehab situation, I think the coaches are looking at velocity, then can he throw all his pitches; It's not the # of hits he gives up, it's more "was he getting hit hard" that would be a concern.

Posted by: BinM | July 15, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Glad that J-Zimm is progressing, but I'm also a bit concerned about rushing him back.

(and, please, no mas on the "-mas" constructs)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 15, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, BinM - hope you're right.

Posted by: gilbertbp | July 15, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Good news for one of our pitchers? Outstanding.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | July 15, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

What about the Wang? Aren't we paying him pretty good money to put in an appearance this season. Zimmermann is such a working man's hero. He comes back in exactly the time alotted, busting his ass the whole way. Wang is still sipping latte--or is it gensing--in Viera.

Posted by: Juliasdad | July 15, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

A day late for this blog, but check out Boz laying down the statistical smack 'em yack 'em in favor of signing Dunn in today's chat. Wow.

Posted by: joebleux | July 15, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

any bets on a line-up today?

Nobody "needs a rest" so we should get the best possible...right?

Morgan CF
Guzman 2B
Zimmerman 3B
Dunn 1B
Hammer LF
Pudge C
Bernadina RF
Desmond SS
Strasburg P


...not that I wouldn't mind seeing Bernadina leading off in CF and Morse taking a shot around the 6-hole in RF...push everyone else back a spot.

Thoughts?

Posted by: Naugatuck-Nats | July 15, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm not one to project (or whinge about) line-ups, but I don't expect that there will be any today, as I believe the team doesn't play until tomorrow night.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 15, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

D'oh!!! I can't handle these 4-day breaks...I'm starting to lose it!!!!

Posted by: Naugatuck-Nats | July 15, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Any reports on the velocity of his pitches? I thought I had heard that he was reaching 94 mph or so on his fastball. Was this the case at his last start?

Posted by: Dougmacintyre | July 15, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Wang is coming back (or not, as the case may be) from what is apparently an unusual injury for a baseball player, and therefore unpredictable, particularly for a pitcher. He was always a longshot at the best of it--that's why they have him for two years.
***************
What about the Wang? Aren't we paying him pretty good money to put in an appearance this season. Zimmermann is such a working man's hero. He comes back in exactly the time alotted, busting his ass the whole way. Wang is still sipping latte--or is it gensing--in Viera.
Posted by: Juliasdad | July 15, 2010 11:18 AM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 15, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

And congrats to the other Z-Man, as NatsInsider passed one million page views. Dry goods are sure to follow.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 15, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I really feel it may be Riggleman who's keeping the Nats from being more successful/competitive. They have enough talent to compete for a Wild Card; and a more detail-oriented Manager would work more on improving the defense. Some of the mistakes they make in games are clearly due to lack of focus and the team collectively thinking that 'talent/skill' will compensate for whatever mistakes they make.

Posted by: marcarutledge@yahoo.com | July 15, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

@joebleaux - If Dunn's agent doesn't have a copy of the transcript of Boz's chat today, Dunn should fire him.

Posted by: gilbertbp | July 15, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Boz's chat: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2010/07/08/DI2010070803828.html

Posted by: gilbertbp | July 15, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

gilbertbp: yeah, no kidding. And I wrote my comment after Boz's initial post; turned out that was just opening salvo with heavy artillery to follow.

Posted by: joebleux | July 15, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Naugatuck, I know. What will we do in the offseason? Oh, yeah. MLB Network. ahhhh....

sec3, you must be psychic re. the dry goods...

joebleux and gilbert, okaaay. You talked me into it. I'm off to read the transcript.

Oh, waitaminute. joebleux, was it you who had the Dibblese transcript some time back? If so, well done. Just realized the other day that the reference was to Airplane. D'oh!

---

D'oh!!! I can't handle these 4-day breaks...I'm starting to lose it!!!!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 15, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

1a: I was waiting with bated breath. I knew it would click in your mind...eventually... :)

Posted by: joebleux | July 15, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Amen to joebleux and gilbertbp. That should (hopefully) just about do it for the "trade proven major leaguers for unproven propsects" conversations. Sign Dunn and Willingham. And Boz did lay down a field of fire...

Posted by: fpcsteve | July 15, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Uncle Teddy,

Sign Dunn and the Hammer NOW! For love of pete what are you waiting for, you cheap #$%&#@$%!!!

Posted by: Section505203 | July 15, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Signing Strasburg was a big milestone in undisgruntling the fans. Signing Dunn and Willinham would be another. Phil Rogers in the Trib picks Dunn as biggest impending trade. That would be bad.

Posted by: markfromark | July 15, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

OK, folks, the Chief rejected a demotion to AAA Tacoma, and is going to be a free agent. Dagnab the torpedoes, folks, let's sign The Chief!!!! He hasn't pitched great, but has Tyler Walker? I have a Chad Cordero bobblehead to take out of storage!!!

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | July 15, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Permit me to posit, Messrs. Lerner and Rizzo, that you would not wish to see this crowd completely without gruntles. You would be well advised to give serious consideration to gruntling them, and with the utmost dispatch.

Hopefully yours,

a concerned Nats fan

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 15, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Very interesting, PHS. Hey, we could take "Hail to the Chief" out of retirement, too...

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 15, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm with you Naugatuck-Nats. Gimme baseball or gimme death!

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | July 15, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I favor signing Dunn, don't get me wrong. Zimmerman, Dunn, Willingham. That's a solid core. If you trade any of them, where's the hitting going to come from? But those statistics are just baffling. Seems you can prove just about anything with statistics. How many times do we have to see Dunn keep the bat on his shoulder and take strike 3 in a clutch situation? It was VERY striking last year, and I have seen it this year too. Hope he will try to take some leadership of the team instead of going for a base on balls when it counts. I understand that he's a modest, calm, unassuming guy, but we could use some "fire" from him sometimes, for lack of a better word. My two cents.

Posted by: poncedeleroy | July 15, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I would argue that Zimmerman has watched his share of third strikes with runners in scoring position as well. The lineup is only slightly above average and needs good pitching to win. That is where they have failed. Get Olsen, Zimmermann, Detwiler and Marquis back--we do have him on a two year contract as well--and this team could compete.

Posted by: Juliasdad | July 15, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Wonder what everyone will say if Rizzo trades him? He is the most popular topic of conversation when trades are brought up, at least according to Rizzo.

I'm not sure I agree with signing Dunn or trading him. Both must fit certain within certain parameters. Both he and Willingham are both over 30 and the potential to decline ala Soriano is certainly there. Have to agree with Rizzo's cautious, let's see what's out there approach.

If Dunn, Willingham, and Zimmerman want this to stop? Its easy. Win more games, stop losing. Period.

Posted by: periculum | July 15, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

The answer to "how many times" anything is statistics, which take away the emotional impact of the memory and tell you how many times a particular outcome actually occurs, as to how many times it feels like it has occurred. And the statistics tell us Dunn is better than many people think. (Also that he's seeking bases on balls less aggressively.)

Posted by: markfromark | July 15, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

There are too many off days in baseball, not to mention that ridiculous off-season, which is actually more like two season.

Posted by: markfromark | July 15, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Dunn for "unproven" prospects? It depends on the prospect[s] doesn't it?

No matter what you say about trading Dunn, or not trading Dunn. The fact of the matter remains that Mike Rizzo is also probably correct in what he says:

Courtesy of Bill Ladson:

General manager Mike Rizzo said the team's biggest need is starting pitching. The Nationals have their ace in Strasburg, who has been dominating since he made his Major League debut on June 8. But Rizzo would like to add another dominant pitcher to the staff. The team is hoping that Jordan Zimmermann, who is ahead of scheduled after undergoing Tommy John surgery last year, can make his comeback before the season is over. The Nationals look at Strasburg and Zimmermann as a 1-2 combination in the rotation by next year.

"Our biggest need now and at the Trade Deadline is starting pitching," Rizzo said. "That's everyone's biggest need and we are included in that. We need more starting pitching. Premier, front-line starting pitching is what everybody needs to get to the next level of championship-caliber clubs. We are no different."

#######

Boz, once again seems to fail to look at the "big picture". Yes, power hitters like Dunn are rare and hard to find. But harder and rarer still are top of the rotation starters like Strasburg.

Bottom line: To win the Nats need Cliff Lee and at least one more pitcher like him plus "clean" good fielding. Fielding where an out that is supposed to be an out is made 99% of the time.

If having the best 3,4,5 in the NL were what it takes to win ... would the Nats be ensconced in the basement of the NL East? No. So something BIG is missing.

You can't get these top of the rotation starters easily. If you want "Uncle Teddy" to spend money, hopefully it will be to outbid the Yankees et al for Cliff Lee, because that is one free agent they may need far more than a Texiera!

The farm system is still bereft of MLB ready talent at all positions. There may be some from the echelons of the lower A and below who may have a dramatic effect on the MLB club. But none are potential top of the rotation power pitchers with the exception, perhaps, of Nate Karns, and perhaps Trevor Holder and AJ Morris.

Even Boz admits that they will probably have to lose 1 of a Willingham or Dunn in order to improve. He prefers Willingham. I tend to agree mostly because Dunn is a left handed power hitter who appears to be progressing and improving at the plate and somewhat in the field.

I suspect that is what will in the end happen.

And in the

Posted by: periculum | July 15, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

He should not play at the Major league level this year. What's the rush? There is no urgency if we have real management. Don't salivate for 1 individual-risk isn't worth it. We have had quite a few game winning efforts from our starting pitching that the W wasn't forthcoming. How does that change with him?

Posted by: CTaylor42 | July 15, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

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