Sept. 12: Doctors estimate that Zimmer will need six to eight weeks before he’s ready for full baseball activities, which seems to largely eliminate the possibility that he’d be able to return to contribute in the postseason (Twitter links via MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian).
Sept. 11, 9:23pm: Zimmer is set to undergo surgery on his broken hand tomorrow, Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon-Journal reports on Twitter. It’s still not known exactly how long Zimmer is likely to be sidelined.
12:49pm: Zimmer is expected to miss the rest of the season, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports via Twitter.
This is a significant blow to an Indians team that has won 18 in a row and has their sights set on a return to the World Series. Zimmer’s defense in center field has been well above average according to advanced metrics. It’s unclear whether Zimmer will be able to return for any amount of time in the postseason, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility. It’s worth noting that even with a broken hand, Zimmer could have a place on the roster as an emergency pinch-runner in high-leverage situations.
Sept. 10: Indians manager Terry Francona says outfielder Bradley Zimmer has a broken bone in his hand, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian tweets. To be precise, Zimmer has fractured the fourth metacarpal on his left hand, as Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon Journal tweets. The injury occurred when Zimmer slid into first base and had his hand stepped on by Chris Davis in the Indians’ game against the Orioles Sunday.
We won’t know more about Zimmer’s injury until he sees a hand specialist tomorrow, but his broken bone appears to be a significant bit of bad news for an Indians team that has otherwise had plenty to celebrate lately. This is the second injury in ten days that Zimmer has suffered while diving — he came up with concussion issues after attempting a diving catch earlier this month.
The 24-year-old Zimmer has emerged as a solid contributor in his rookie season. He’s batted a modest .243/.310/.389, but has created good value with his baserunning (he has 18 steals while only being caught once) and center field defense, resulting in a solid 1.5 fWAR over his first 100 games. Assuming Zimmer has to miss time, the Indians have a variety of players who could help in center field. Austin Jackson has ample experience at the position. Tyler Naquin, Abraham Almonte and speedy newcomer Greg Allen could represent other possibilities there.