WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Now that the Nationals have officially commented on the near future of Ryan Zimmerman — with Matt Williams confirming Zimm will spend the “majority” of his time at third base when Bryce Harper returns from injury — to his character, the longest tenured National will play whichever position gives his team the best chance to win, on any given night.
Zimmerman discussed his new role Friday, when he joined 106.7 The Fan’s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier, to promote ziMS Foundation’s fifth annual “A Night at the Park,” to be held Monday, June 16 at Nationals Park to raise proceeds for Multiple sclerosis research.
“Are you at a point yet, where you have no preference,” Paulsen questioned. “Where you literally don’t care where you’re playing — third, or left or first — or is there still a preference for you; if they came to you and said, ‘Hey, man, longest tenured player, hundred million-dollar man, face of the franchise — what do you want to do?'”
Zimmerman’s response was indicative of a player who’s experienced just two winning seasons in a 10-year career, but, perhaps, not of someone who’s played all but 38 of 1,157 career games at one position.
“I honestly don’t really have a preference,” Zimmerman responded. “I think third base the last few years has been tough, with the shoulder and things going like that, and not having consistency, not knowing whether my arm’s gonna feel good, gonna feel bad. Honestly, it’s been rough, so I continue to work there and be ready to play there whenever I’m needed. Roche-y’s having one of the best years of any first baseman in the league, so obviously he makes us better being at first base, and in left field, I’ve been doing a good job. Honestly, whatever gives us the best chance to win.”
“You only get so many years where you have teams like this, where you have a chance to realistically make the playoffs and then make a run and try and go deep,” he said. “And I think people take that for granted, and I don’t want to take that for granted. I lost for a long time, and now I see that we have a chance to win and do something special, and honestly, I just want to play wherever gives us the best chance to win, because you never know how long it’s gonna last.”
Zimmerman’s high-character willingness to sacrifice for the benefit of his team should come as no shock to anyone familiar with him, although, it’s not less admirable to see a Gold Glove third baseman take on, not one, but multiple new positions, and willingly, a decade into his Major League career.
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo spoke to that character in May, ahead of Zimmerman’s professional outfield debut.
“He’s a guy who can play anywhere, and more importantly, is willing to do anything and play anywhere, and do anything he has to do to help us win games, and that’s a huge statement from a veteran player with the caliber of Ryan Zimmerman,” Rizzo said.
You can find out more info about “A Night at the Park” here.