WASHINGTON -- Between the manner in which Ryan Zimmerman has rebounded from his shoulder ailments earlier this season and his continued stellar defense at third base, there isn't much the Nationals can nitpick with their third baseman.
After seeing his batting average drop as low as .218 in late June as he battled a sore right shoulder, Zimmerman has ridden a second-half tear to boost that clip to .282 entering Saturday with 17 home runs and 69 RBIs.
But after seeing Zimmerman revert several times to a sidearm motion while throwing to first base, manager Davey Johnson was asked about his preference for the third baseman. Zimmerman has 11 errors on the season, fourth most among NL third basemen -- though he could have several more without the stellar fielding of Adam LaRoche at first base.
"I like it when he cuts it loose more," Johnson said of Zimmerman's throwing motion. "Yeah, that's the shoulder he's had the problem with the [cortisone] shots, so I'm sure there's probably a little impingement in there or whatever. When there is, and you don't get [your arm] up there and cut it loose, then you're going to have some arm problems as well.
"But he's awfully good the way he is, I'm not worried about it."
Johnson said he hasn't discussed the issue "one iota" with Zimmerman, though he did reach back into his memories of coaching the Mets in the 1980s to explain the significance of the issue.
"I had a guy that had a little problem throwing to first, it was a little switch-hitter I had in New York, Howard Johnson," Johnson said. "I said, 'Look, I want you to just throw it over there. As hard as you can, and I don't care if it lands 15 rows up, just fire it. Don't be aiming nothing over there, just cut it loose.' I don't worry about things like that, just as long as they get it and throw it."