Ryan Zimmerman ready for healthy 2015 as Nationals’ first baseman
Perhaps this moment in Game 2 of the National League Division Series has slipped your mind by now — there was, after all, quite a bit to keep track of that afternoon/evening — but in the bottom of the 10th inning, turmoil percolated. The Giants had tied the game an inning before, spoiling a near no-hit showing by Jordan Zimmermann and frustrating the Nationals.
Asdrubal Cabrera led off and was called out on strikes, a decision with which he demonstratively disagreed. A flare of his temper later, both he and Matt Williams were off to the clubhouse by mandate of home plate umpire Vic Carapazza.
Then Ryan Zimmerman walked to the plate, not with any Kirk Gibson-like visible hobble, but recovering by a hamstring injury nonetheless. He’d rushed back from that injury for moments like these and little more, unable to start or play any substantial number of innings at the time.
But in a crucial situation and an unfamiliar role, Zimmerman smacked a single. With it, the franchise stalwart steadied tempers and fans and even the game– at least long enough for everyone to take a deep breath or two.
Nothing would come of the hit, of course, but in that at-bat, Zimmerman summed his worth: a consistent presence reliable for good production when healthy, constant and still important to the team he’s seen grow from infancy.
By now, Zimmerman says his hamstring is healed, though it required a little extra off-season rest given he’d rushed it back for what was expected to be a much longer playoff run. He says he’s doing normal off-season workouts and getting “ready to play baseball,” though he’ll likely be readying more specifically to move from third base to first base this season to assume to spot vacated by Adam LaRoche.
“I like it because I know how nice it is to have a good first baseman,” Zimmerman said of a potential move across the diamond. “I’ve been lucky to play with a couple really good first basemen, being on the other side of the field it’s comforting to know that you have a guy over there where if you get it close, he’s going to help you out a lot, and that’s what I’m going to work to be because I know how nice that makes you feel when you’re an infielder. But that’s going to take a lot of work. Everyone thinks you just go over to first base and kind of hide him there, but it’s a tough position, there’s a lot of things I have to learn, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.”