Notes: Zimmerman taking Acta lessons
Third baseman gets extra fielding practice with Nats manager
WASHINGTON -- A day after making his 18th error of the season, Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman was seen taking fielding drills and lessons from manager Manny Acta, who is also the team's infield coach. The session lasted about 20 minutes with Acta hitting ground balls to Zimmerman's left and right.
Acta noticed that when Zimmerman makes his throwing errors on routine plays, his legs are not far apart. Zimmerman also said that Acta would like him to bend down a little when he is ready to make plays. According to Acta, Zimmerman got the messages right away.
"I want him to be consistent with the separation with his two legs when he is ready to throw," Acta said. "Throwing is like hitting. ... Your legs have to be separated according to your body height. A lot of times, I just felt that his legs were too close to each other when he was going to make the throw [over to first base]."
Even though Zimmerman has made a high amount of errors, Acta believes that he has the best defensive third baseman in baseball.
"He is a great defensive third baseman, but he is still far from perfect like everybody else in here," Acta said.
Zimmerman indicated that he does not have the jitters and was happy that Acta was teaching him the proper way of playing third base.
"I feel fine at third," Zimmerman said. "Of course, I made more errors this year, but as far as me learning the position, I think I've gotten to balls this year that I wouldn't have gotten to last year. I think I've improved at the position. It's just unfortunate I made some careless errors. I'm just learning a routine to get myself where I need to be. I'm always trying to get better."
Philadelphia freedom: Phillies center fielder Aaron Rowand is a free agent after the season, and while he didn't reveal his offseason plans, he has been keeping his eye on the Nationals and said that they have a bright future ahead of them, including getting a new ballpark.
"I know what they have in their Minor League system," Rowand said. "This is going to be a team that will be contending real quickly."
Rowand is aware that the Nationals are looking for a center fielder and is flattered that his name has been linked to Washington. Rowand is having one of his best seasons, hitting .311 with 19 home runs and 65 RBIs entering Wednesday's action.
"As far as the free agency process goes, this is the first time, I've gone through it," Rowand said. "I'm not sure what to expect. We haven't talked to anybody. We haven't even talked to the Phillies about any kind of extension or anything as far as the future is concerned. I haven't put much thought as far as what happens this offseason. I'm trying to help the Phillies win games. The goal is to make the playoffs."
Injury report: While Shawn Hill's elbow is 100 percent, his left shoulder is not. In fact he has been told not to swing the bat when he is at the plate. Hill hurt the shoulder last April running the bases against the Marlins.
Asked if he needs surgery after the season to repair the damage in his shoulder, Hill said, "It's 50-50. I don't know. As time goes on, I might feel more comfortable and we just don't want to aggravate it yet. It's completely a non-issue as of right now. We'll deal with what we have right now. If it's still an issue, we'll take care of it."
Stat of the day: Center fielder Nook Logan is hitting a team-best .333 (29-for-87) since the All-Star break.
Did you know? The Nationals are 8-1 when Tony Batista starts a game this season.
Coming up: The Nationals play the third game of a three-game series against the Phillies on Thursday night. Washington right-hander Joel Hanrahan will face Philadelphia left-hander Cole Hamels.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.