Neither injury appears serious and both could return as soon as Wednesday. Zimmerman tweaked his back when he slid into home plate in the 11th inning of Sunday’s win over the Milwaukee Brewers, Nationals Manager Davey Johnson said. The back spasms may have bothered Zimmerman when bending over since Sunday’s game, he added.
Zimmerman, the team’s hottest hitter over the past month, received treatment for his back and was in the hot tub, Johnson said.
“He looked alright,” Johnson said. “He wasn’t all slouched over or nothing … Hopefully we’ll just nip this in the bud.”
LaRoche, the team leader in home runs and runs batted in, was pulled in the fourth inning of Sunday’s game with a back spasms and is feeling better, Johnson said. LaRoche was held out of Tuesday’s lineup as a precautionary move.
Johnson wanted to see LaRoche work out to evaluate how he felt, and LaRoche took ground balls and batting practice before Tuesday’s game.
Johnson said both players would be on the bench for Tuesday’s game and didn’t rule them out as potential pinch hitters. Tyler Moore started at first base and veteran infielder Mark DeRosa was at third base.
This may be a good time for Zimmerman and LaRoche to miss a game as the Nationals begin a three-game against the Phillies, who sit 16 ½ games behind first place in the NL East and will play without two all-star outfielders, Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino, both traded away for prospects before Tuesday’s game. But if either players needs to miss more time, it may become even more difficult for a Nationals offense already without all-star shortstop Ian Desmond.