Jim Riggleman not concerned with Ryan Zimmerman's throwing
By any measure, Ryan Zimmerman is probably the best defensive third baseman in baseball. He won the Gold Glove last year, and he will likely win it again this year. Scouts drool over his range. Advanced metrics, such as UZR and Zone Rating, determine him the best there is.
And yet, this weekend raised a potential issue with Zimmerman -- his unique throwing motion led to a pair of poor throws, one looping throw that pulled Adam Dunn several steps off first base and another that Dunn had to stretch to save. Both throws came on an extreme, awkward sidearm motion by Zimmerman.
The Nationals have addressed Zimmerman's throwing motion with him before, but they are also careful to not fix what isn't broken. It may look strange -- and may also harbor potential for a more serious problem -- but Zimmerman's motion, more often than not, works. Zimmerman has had 330 chances this year and made 10 errors (of his 16 total errors) on throws.
Even as outs pile up, several scouts and other industry sources have expressed concern over Zimmerman's motion. The Nationals monitor Zimmerman's throwing action and will revisit it with him, either this offseason or in spring training, but they do not see it as a major detriment.
"I just think that he's getting his arm in a little tough position to throw from," Manager Jim Riggleman said. "It's a conversation that we've had before and we will have again in the future. He gets it done, you know? Sometimes, he gets his arm at angle that I feel like he's going to hurt himself by throwing in that position. But all the information you can gather about third baseball, he's at the top of the list. You don't want to mess with success there too much."
it is worth asking if Zimmerman's small problem now could lead to a bigger one later, but Riggleman again said he is more interested in the good results than the hypothetical.
"When he's needed to get on top to make a throw when he goes to his right, he's done it," Riggleman said. "He gets a lot of outs. I'm more worried when he puts his arm in that slot that he's going to hurt himself. But he doesn't. He's never had any arm issues. He gets it done the way he does it. We'll live with that. If we tweak it a little bit, and he's receptive to that, that's fine. Sometimes, you tweak it and then that's what hurts him. We've got to be careful there, too."
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