Inside Pitch Live with Jordan Zimmermann
Jordan Zimmermann spent some time prior to Saturday’s game in the PNC Diamond Club, fielding questions from fans and moderator Dave Jageler for the last installment of Inside Pitch Live:
Your first Major League win was against the Braves. Then you earned your first win coming back from surgery last night against the Braves. Are you going to remember this one for awhile?
Yea, definitely. It’s been a long time. I found out last night that my last win was June 25 of last year, so it was good to get the first one coming back here.
And you were facing a team fighting for a playoff spot and a pitcher whom the Nationals have not beaten since 2006. What was working for you last night?
I felt great all night long. I got ahead with the fastball all night long and the curveball was really good. I got ahead of the hitters, and that’s the biggest thing for me. When I can do that, I’m pretty successful.
You had Tommy John surgery last August and it took about one year to get back to the Majors. Do you feel you’re at 100 percent yet? Does it depend on the day?
It’s kind of a roller coaster ride when you have Tommy John. Last night I was on top of the roller coaster. But you’re going to have days where the command is not quite there and last night it was as good as it can get. I’m pretty close right now.
Did you get a boost or added confidence by looking at the All-Star Game roster this year and seeing several pitchers who have recovered from Tommy John surgery?
I knew if I did all the work and stayed on top of things that I’d come back successful. [Tim] Hudson had the surgery and Billy Wagner had the surgery. You see those guys coming in last night–Hudson had a rough outing but Wagner came in and struck out three guys. There are a lot of guys out there who’ve had it. I just told myself if I do all the work, I can be one of those guys.
Back in the day that was a career-ending injury. How do you make that adjustment mentally, knowing that you’re going to be down for awhile, but the chances are pretty good that you’re going to be back at 100 percent eventually?
The first time I found out it was pretty rough for the first couple of weeks there. I’m sure Stephen [Strasburg] is going through the same thing. I talked to Burnett and J.D. Martin and they said just do your work and you’re going to come back stronger than ever.
Have you talked to Stephen Strasburg at all and given him any advice on recovering from the surgery?
I talked to him before the surgery and I just told him, “Do your work and the stuff they give you to do, do extra. Go over the top with everything. You’re going to be fine.” Then I texted him after he had the surgery and he said everything went well and he’s feeling good. So I’ve talked to him a couple of times.
What’s the timetable? You can’t throw a baseball for four months, right? What do you do in that time?
A lot of range of motion stuff. Try to get your arm straight. A lot of strengthening. The first four months were pretty rough. Once you get through that and you can actually pick up a baseball and throw again, the time really flies.
No golf for you though. I know that was a downer.
I couldn’t golf, but it’s hard to golf in the winter time up in Wisconsin anyways.
What’s it like to play against one of your favorite teams in the Braves?
It’s great. It’s great to get out there and hopefully get a win. It’s nice to go out there and try to have a good outing every time, and if I get the win, I get the win. But I want to keep the team in as long as possible and hopefully we can get some runs.
You also did it at the plate last night. Tim Hudson–it’s a good swing you put on him.
Yeah. I got up there and [Braves catcher] McCann asked me how I was doing. I said, “Good. You throw me a sinker and I’ll hit a ground ball and everyone’s going to be happy.” So I kind of talked him in to throwing me a fast ball.
You’ve got a good swing. In college you did some [designating hitting]. You’re not an automatic out.
It was rough last year. I started out 0-for-20. Taking a year and a half off after college, it took awhile to get the swing back.
At what age should kids start throwing curveballs?
I’d have to say probably 15, 16. Hold off as long as possible. A curveball’s pretty hard on the elbow, so if you can get by with a fastball and a changeup, hold off as long as possible.
What are your plans in the offseason?
I’m going to go back to Wisconsin and take a month off or so and just relax, then start working out again and get ready for Spring Training.