To maintain his status as one of the best pitchers in MLB, Jordan Zimmermann might just have to miss the annual congregation of the league’s best.
Though the Washington Nationals ace isn’t totally committing to whether or not he will participate in the Midsummer Classic, that it’s even something to be mulled over and decided does seem a little curious.
Simply put, as long as there are doubts about his health, there should be no doubts that he should be skipping the 2013 All-Star Game.
Sure, it’s the first time that the right-hander has been recognized by MLB for his excellence on the mound, and he would more than likely be a factor in the NL’s quest to earn home field advantage in the World Series. That, however, doesn’t mean a whole lot if the Nats can’t get there, and any risk of potential injury that will keep Zimmermann from pitching for Washington is something that holds them back from the postseason.
Now, it’s obviously the case that most players in the league are going to be playing with varying degrees of bumps and bruises at this point, but with the team’s offense starting to heat up (eighth in MLB over last seven days), now is the time for the on-paper preseason favourites to really put things together with the starting pitching that they’ve gotten to make a push for the NL East.
Zimmermann, as it should go without saying, is and will be a major part of that.
Even though the 27-year-old breakout star was outdueled in his latest turn on Thursday by Philadelphia Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick, his ability to keep the team in the game through his 6.1 innings pitched is not an ability that the team has in abundance as far as depth goes, especially with the back-end of the rotation already all but decimated by injuries and ineffectiveness.
So while his neck issue is something that he was able to pitch through (and except in spite of), Zimmermann should be taking no chances here.
In fact, the Nats should be making the decision easy for him; I mean, he was already recognized as one of the best in the game. Why jeopardize his ability to provide that for Washington does the stretch when they need it most?