"I don't think that would be smart for me to participate without a contract. As soon as I get that stuff squared away, I'll be there, ready to go. It's all part of the business. I don't think there's any hard feelings, either way."
(Ryan Zimmerman, via Associated Press, 2/13/2009)
The Nationals moved quickly to squash any rumors that the relationship between Zim and the Nats had deteriorated, by
issuing a press release making it known that everything is just peachy. Via Nationals dot com, under the headline "Zimmerman, Nationals, aren't at odds", there's this:
The relationship between third baseman Ryan Zimmerman and the Nationals is better than ever.
Better than ever! Got it? Any questions? No? Good!
The thing is, nobody should be surprised by Zim's absence from camp - he pretty much broke the "news" himself last week. Quote is above. The AP's Howard Fendrich dropped in a little reminder in the notes section at the end of a "Shawn Hill feels great!" story tonight, too, that Zimmerman went on record last week saying he wouldn't be in camp unless a deal got done. Now, here at The Nationals Enquirer, we appreciate the art of rumor mongering with the best of 'em, but we can't even figure out a way to turn this into something it's not.