Yesterday, Jordan Zimmermann was asked what he wanted to work on this spring. “Change-up,” he replied. He said the same thing last year. The Jordan Zimmermann Change-up Watch has become a rite of Nationals spring training.
He hopes and expects this season will be different. Last year, Zimmermann spent the spring trying to hone a new and improved change-up, for which he had devised a more comfortable grip. Then during the regular season he threw it 2.2 percent of his pitches – the same as in 2011.
“It was definitely the trust issue wasn’t there, and not knowing when to throw it,” Zimmermann said. “A lot of guys like to throw it when they’re down 2-0 and can get something over the middle. The guys are looking for a heater, and they’re going to roll over. I was to the point where I wasn’t very confident. I’m not going to throw it 2-0 and then get down 3-0 and really have my hands full.”

Zimmermann’s lack of a change-up did not prevent him from becoming an excellent pitcher in 2012. He punched up a 2.94 ERA in over 195 2/3 innings, with 7.04 strikeouts and 1.98 walks per nine innings. But it did keep him from becoming the best version of himself, especially against right-handed hitters.