Sunday, March 30, 2008

Ryan Zimmerman Puts Jinx Behind Him

Washington Nationals manager Manny Acta sees nowhere to go but up for rising young star Ryan Zimmerman, 25, who in Acta's opinion has put his sophomore jinx behind him.

Zimmerman -- whose average fell to .266 with 91 RBI after hitting .287 with 110 RBI the year before -- is seen by Acta as poised to begin a gradual ascent into the stratosphere now that the Nats have escaped cavernous old Robert F. Kennedy Stadium to the team's newly built ballpark.

"I would take a sophomore year like the one Zim had last year anytime," Acta told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. "...I know a lot of people made the adjustment to him, and he adjusted back to them. So I'm expecting that from now on he's just going to put (together) a streak of years of 30 homers and a lot of RBI."

Acta predicts that the team's new stadium will be reasonably friendly to hitters, though not as friendly to hitters as small parks like those of the Phillies or Reds.