24-year-old Washington Nationals' 07 2nd Round pick Jordan Zimmermann, who had Tommy John surgery in August '09 and returned to the lineup in late 2010, a little over year after the procedure was performed, at times last season looked like the pitcher he was before he went under the knife. Zimmermann has conducted several interviews recently as a way, it seems, to reintroduce himself to the nation's capital.
In a recent interview on 106.7 the FAN in DC's The Sports Junkies, Ryan Zimmerman was asked to remind everyone just how talented the top prospect in the organization before Stephen Strasburg arrived really is, and the face of the franchise said, "[Zimmermann] came back last year, and guys come back in 12-15 months from Tommy John, but it truly takes, it takes almost two years to get all the way back, so he's looked great so far down here. He pitched great yesterday against the Cardinals. He's fully back now and he's excited to be back to where he was before." Asked how hard he threw, Zimmerman said, "He'll throw anywhere between 91-95 mph...He's not lobbing it up there..."
Zimmmerman was just about right on Zimmermann's fastball according to a scout SI.com's Jon Heyman spoke to and quoted on Twitter this afternoon. @SI_JonHeyman: "scout on Jordan Zimmermann: 'He's back.' throwing 94-95 w/ superb slider. 'if they had Strasburg, they'd be dangerous.'''
Included along with CBSSports.com's Scott Miller's recent Spring Training report on the Nats (which focuses on Jayson Werth, more on him in a minute) is a bit of fantasy advice which notes that Zimmermann, after, "the months of recovery," that followed his surgery, "was old news in Washington, which made him practically a ghost in Fantasy," but their recommendation, based at least in part on the fact that Zimmermann, "...had the same walk rate in his return last year that he had during his rookie season," is that, "he's ready to pick up where he left off,":
"Zimmermann has one of the highest ceilings of all the pitchers you could draft in the late rounds."
Zimmermann himself said he has the slider and curve back now in a recent interview 106.7 the FAN in DC's Overtime with Bill Rohland and Danny Rouhier. D.C. GM Mike Rizzo told MLB.com's Bill Ladson in an article at the start of Spring Training entitled, "Nats acquire lefty Gorzelanny from Cubs", that he's expecting a big year for Zimmermann:
"'I see a much-improved Jordan Zimmermann, who is going to take the next step after having Tommy John surgery. He is going to turn into the pitcher we think he is and 14 other clubs think he is. He is the guy that is in demand every time we try to make a trade.'"
The Auburndale, Wisconsin-born pitcher might not draw 40,000 fans and the majority of the nation's baseball press to his every start like Strasburg did, but it didn't take long to remember last year what everyone like about the right-hander, and if he can play the role of a no.1 starter til Strasburg's able to return the Nationals might well be dangerous before most people expect it...
Jayson Werth thinks that though the Nats are, "not as far along as when I went to Philly in '07... I don't feel it's too far behind that," as he told CBSSports.com's Scott Miller in the article mentioned above entitled, "Nats camp report: Werth steps into lead role in D.C." The reason the Nats made Werth their $126M dollar outfielder as D.C. GM Mike Rizzo explained recently in an interview with MLB Network Radio show Power Alley hosts Kevin Kennedy and co-host Mike Ferrin, was that after having scouted Werth and spoken to him, the general manager believed that, "...there was more in there than he had to bring out in Philadelphia. I think one of the reasons that Washington interested him is I think he was ready to step up and be 'THE' guy instead of one of the guys."
Werth apparently agrees as he told CBSSports.com's Mr. Miller, "'In Philly, I was considered a complementary player by the media, by everybody," since he was on a roster with, "... Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Roy Halladay," but in D.C. with Zimmerman and a bunch of young as yet unproven players at the Major League level, "I'm in a different situation. I'm looked at differently," Werth's quoted saying, "'But I haven't changed.'"
• Bryce Harper:
Why is Bryce Harper the kind of player who can make someone like Nats' Asst. GM Bob Boone say, "Harper is...he's beautiful. I just love him," it's because he says things like this when asked about by reporters about "fraterninzing" with other teams, as quoted by Washington Post writer Dave Sheinin for a Nationals Journal post entitled, "Bryce Harper not big on pre-game fraternization":
"'I never say hi to anybody [on the other team]. I just stay over here,' Harper said. '... I'm trying to beat them. That's what I am. If we're off the field, I'll go over and say hello. You can be my best friend, and I'll hate you on the baseball field. That's how I am. If you're my best friend, playing shortstop, I'll still take you out. That's how I am.'"
Harper's beautiful. I just love him.