Since Bryce Harper returned this week, Ryan Zimmerman has played third base every day, after a long layoff from his old position. And while the Nationals’ infield defense is weaker with Zimmerman and his chronic right shoulder, a fact he willingly admits, Zimmerman’s throwing has not been an issue. In fact, Zimmerman has made all the routine and tough plays needed this week.
“He’s thrown fine. He’s had a few plays,” Manager Matt Williams said. “The spin play the other night, the throw to second was good. Certainly diving to his left was good. He dove on the line drive the other night and threw from his knees, a one-hopper over there which was fine. I think he’s done fine.”
On Monday, Zimmerman made a difficult, across-the-body one-hop throw deep in the hole for an out. He dived to his left for a sharp groundball and fired a throw from his knees to first for an out, an impressive overhand throw with no legs behind it. Earlier in the season, when his shoulder barked at him, Zimmerman likely wouldn’t have made that throw. But the time in left field may have rested his shoulder.
Zimmerman’s throws, in fact, appears to have a little more force behind them. Before he broke his thumb in April, Zimmerman was making sidearm throws even on routine plays because the overhand motion hurt his shoulder. This week, Zimmerman has thrown both ways.
“I think the time off from making that throw helped him,” Williams said. “I think his arm feels fine. I would imagine throwing from the outfield and making a longer throw helped him as well. I think he’s thrown fine. Weather could be a factor. It’s warmer, not quite as cool as it was early on for sure. Probably all of that contributes to it.”