ST. LOUIS -- The Nationals had three full days off between the final game of the regular season and Sunday's National League Division Series Game 1 against the Cardinals. That gave them time to unwind from a long season and let some of their injuries heal, but whether that's a good thing depends on who you're talking to.
Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who was banged up throughout the season with a shoulder injury, was among those thankful for the time off.
"I think it's a great thing. After going through the season, everyone has their bumps and bruises," Zimmerman said. "There's not anyone in Major League Baseball who's played however-many games and doesn't have something. It gives you a chance to kind of heal up a little bit, but it's not too long where you kind of get out of game mode.
"Being able to work out two out of the three days is good, too. It's nice you get to relax, kind of settle down and realize what you have to do, kind of regroup and get ready to go."
First baseman Adam LaRoche, meanwhile, expressed the opposite sentiment. The Nationals have worked out twice and taken batting practice, of course, but LaRoche said that doesn't compare to the feeling of actually being in the flow of a game. One of the early storylines in this series figures to be whether the Nats show any signs of rust or bad timing against the Cardinals, who had a day off before and after their Wild Card game.
"I don't like it," LaRoche said. "You come in, get some BP, but not seeing live pitching for a few days -- that's the way it has to be, obviously, with the schedule, but I would prefer one off-day."