SATURDAY, 5:38pm: Zimmer underwent an arthroscopic procedure to repair his right labrum, and he won’t return to full baseball activities for eight to 12 months, the team announced (Twitter link via Jordan Bastian of MLB.com). At least some of Zimmer’s 2019 season could be in jeopardy, then.
It is not known precisely what repair work was done, so the outlook is largely unclear at this point. Per the report, though, it is generally expected that Zimmer “will not be available for the foreseeable future.”
Entering the year, the expectation was that Zimmer would play a significant portion of the innings in center field. But the 25-year-old struggled to a .226/.281/.339 batting line in his 114 plate appearances, striking out 44 times while drawing seven walks.
The news likely does not impact Cleveland’s plans at the trade deadline. Outfield was and is an area of need. Though it would have been nice to have Zimmer around as a possibility later this year, the injury is more worrisome for its future implications.
Whether or not Zimmer is able to return late in 2018, the former top prospect’s outlook is less certain than ever. The same can be said of the Indians’ anticipated outfield alignment in 2019 and beyond, the composition of which is anyone’s guess. Zimmer will not earn any MLB service time while he’s out, meaning he’ll still be in the 1+ service class until he makes it back to the majors.