Back on April 21st, Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman launched a pair of solo home runs in a 5-0 win over the Miami Marlins, putting him one RBI away from a cool one thousand in his career. Nearly seven weeks later, Zimmerman still sits on the precipice of that milestone as plantar fasciitis has put his season on hold. “It’s been probably one of the more frustrating things I’ve gone through,” Zimmerman says of the heel injury, per Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post. Though Zimmerman has resumed baseball activities – namely, batting practice and fielding drills – the next step is being able to run comfortably. Howie Kendrick’s preternatural .325/.359/.583 mark through 151 at-bats helps mitigate Zimmerman’s long-term absence, as does the presence of his planned platoon partner Matt Adams (.245/.277/.481). Still, the man dubbed “Mr. Walkoff” in DC has appeared in every season the Nationals have been in existence, and he has the potential to buoy an offense that has generally floated near the middle of the pack. Years of injuries and a rock-bottom 2016 dimmed Zimmerman’s star, but in stretches he still resembles the ballplayer of his youth. For those of you who don’t remember, Zimmerman was a force, a .279/.343/.475 career hitter with 1,756 hits, 267 home runs, and of course, 999 career RBIs. For reference, Zimmerman, now 34, is listed as Manny Machado’s fifth-most similar batting comp through age-25 per Baseball-Reference.
- Scooter Gennett’s long-awaited 2019 debut may be right around the corner for the Reds, per MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon. He’s been taking grounders and batting practice, but now he’s running the bases as well, meaning activation from the IL could happen sometime in the next couple of weeks. The current plan has him heading to the team’s complex in Goodyear, Arizona next Wednesday, aiming to start a rehab assignment shortly thereafter. With his first foray into free agency on the horizon, Gennett’s pocketbook may face the harshest affects of the injury, as the team itself has benefited from the surprising play of Derek Dietrich as a fill-in. Gennett, 29, owns a career .289/.331/.456 line with back-to-back 20-homer seasons coming into 2019. Jose Peraza may be facing a cut in playing time upon Gennett’s return, as their intended-starting-shortstop has hit only .211/.272/.331, marks that should land him behind Dietrich, Gennett, and Jose Iglesias on the eventual depth chart.
- Marlins right-hander Julian Fernandez has been shut down indefinitely with elbow discomfort, per Wells Dusenbury of the Sun Sentinel (via Twitter). The 6’6″ 23-year-old Dominican has not pitched above Single-A, and he hasn’t pitched at all since the 2017 season after missing all of last year with a UCL tear that led to Tommy John. When he does pitch, he possesses a 100mph fastball that has teams drooling over the potential upside, despite his recent inability to stay on the field. The Marlins claimed him off waivers from the Giants, who filched him from the Rockies with the 2nd selection of 2017’s Rule 5 draft. Given that he seems unlikely once again to reach the requirement of 90 days on the active roster, Fernandez could eventually be offered back to the Rockies.