Ryan Zimmerman’s outfield debut featured World Series-like buildup


(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

“It’s just a baseball game,” Ryan Zimmerman said before he made his first career start in left field on Tuesday against the Phillies. “I’m just a little further out.”

The Nationals’ longtime third baseman was technically correct. It was just a baseball game, Zimmerman’s first in the majors since he broke his thumb on April 12. But after all the buildup to Zimmerman’s move to the outfield and the beginning of a new chapter in his career, after all the blog posts wondering how Zimmerman would adjust to his new spot, Tuesday’s 7-0 win felt and looked like something more.

During his weekly appearance with the Sports Junkies on 106.7 The Fan on Wednesday, Nationals manager Matt Williams said the pregame media scrum at Nationals Park resembled the type of crowd he’d expect before Game 7 of the World Series. F.P. Santangelo agreed.

Zimmerman received a standing ovation before his first at-bat and teammates left a ball in his locker after the game that read, “First hit, 6-3-14.” This wasn’t “just a baseball game.” Zimmerman handled his two chances in left field without incident, or we’d really have something to talk about today.

Scott Allen writes about all things D.C. sports. Follow him on Twitter @ScottSAllen or e-mail him if you’ve got a tip to share.
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