TUESDAY: Zimmerman will not need surgery, which is good news for the long term but does not shorten his timetable to return, Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com reports on Twitter.
SATURDAY: Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman has fractured his right thumb and will miss four to six weeks, Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com tweets. Zimmerman left tonight's matchup with the Braves early after injuring the thumb.
The development is a significant blow for the Nationals. Zimmerman was one of the majors' top hitters in the early going, posting a Herculean .355/.382/.613 line in nine games.
Fortunately, the Nats have several talented infielders on hand who should be able to help carry the team in Zimmerman's absence. Anthony Rendon appears likely to shift from second to third, his natural position, as a replacement, while Danny Espinosa could be adequate as a temporary solution at the keystone. Espinosa struggled mightily in 2013, but he's off to a hot start for the Nats this season, triple-slashing .294/.368/.471.
Looking further ahead, the injury may have implications for the third baseman's ability to stay healthy long-term. Zimmerman has managed 145 and 147 games in the previous two seasons, but he's locked into a deal through 2019 and has missed significant time in the past. Zimmerman's shoulder was described as "arthritic," then "degenerative" by manager Matt Williams in recent interviews, and despite 2012 surgery, completing the long throws across the diamond has been a struggle at times. Moving Zimmerman to first base to try and insulate him from nagging injuries could be one solution, but Adam LaRoche occupies that position for the Nationals at present.
Kevin Frandsen’s chance to show what he has in Washington
Frandsen will be competing with Danny Espinosa for playing time, due to Rendon’s ability to play both second and third.
Wasn’t his shoulder also bad? Bummer.
Opened with Fister hurt, then Ramos on opening day, then Hairston on the bench, now Span and Zimmerman. Sounds like 2012…
Braves are missing Venters for 1-2 more months, Medlen/Beachy for the year, and Minor for another 2 weeks.
But the Nats have all the injuries.
I, uhhhh, didn’t say that?
Why so sensitive bro?
Span isn’t in a Mets uniform, so there’s a pretty good chance that this concussion doesn’t end his career.
On the plus side, maybe they can figure out what is wrong with his shoulder in the mean time?
I saw a game last week where Zimmerman had to go to the backhand, and while leaning away from first base on a jump throw almost threw out the runner heading to first. If his shoulder was that bad he wouldn’t have been able to do that.
I’m a Braves fan but I have tremendous respect for Zimmerman. He’s really nice guy, a good player and the face of a franchise; a player I and others feared and coveted in 2009 but injuries have since then have stolen his gold glove at third base and made him the focus of the Nats problems when most have nothing to do with him. Moving him to first base this year hurts the Nats defensively and removes a LH power bat from their lineup that they need to succeed. Word is that defensively he’s not that good at first but I’m sure he can fix that when he accepts third isn’t an option any longer. The Nats have to juggle that, the need for LaRoche this year and the $100M they have wrapped up in a player whose best use might well be as a roster spot that shouldn’t exist; an AL DH.
I genuinely hope he finds an answer to throwing with arthritis in his repaired shoulder. I want to beat the Nats at full strength or lose to them at full strength, injury is the wrong way to limit/shorten a career like Zimmerman’s that should have been marked with records, gold gloves and success. It happens in all sports but I never get used to seeing it particularly with a nice guy like Zimmerman.