Manager Davey Johnson gave third baseman Ryan Zimmerman the day off today after Zimmerman told him he had felt soreness in the area where a torn abdominal muscle required surgery that held him out for roughly two months. Johnson described the feeling as “tenderness.”
“Anything like that,” Johnson said, “I’m not taking a chance.”
Zimmerman did not seem concerned, calling the day off a “precautionary thing” to rest “general soreness.” Johnson said after Sunday’s game he had been hoping to give Zimmerman, who has played in all 19 Nationals games since he returned June 14.
“None of us ever don’t want to play,” Zimmerman said. “But if they say it’s a good idea, it’s probably a good idea. After not doing anything for a while, coming back and playing pretty much a month straight, we’re just being precautionary.”
Zimmerman has not been his usual productive self since he returned. He’s 14 for 79 (.177) with a .244 on-base percentage and a .304 slugging percentage in 86 plate appearances since he returned. He said he felt like he had to through two spring trainings.
“It’s been a different year,” Zimmerman said. “It’s tough, but the important thing is I’m back and I’m playing. The last two games, I’ve started feeling better at the plate, taking walks, not swinging at pitches I usually don’t swing at.”
>>> Michael Morse remains out of the lineup with a deep bruise in left forearm. The Nationals concluded Morse did not suffer a fracture, but they expected Morse to miss three or four games following his hit by pitch Saturday night. Today is the second game he’s missed.
Morse has spent part of his time recovering campaigning for his spot on the all-star team. He’s up for the Final Player vote. “I reached out to my buddy Ichiro,” Morse said. “Hopefully I get some Japanese votes.”
>>> Jayson Werth is back in the lineup after texting Johnson this morning, imploring him to let him play. “He’s another gamer,” Johnson said. Werth left yesterday’s game after getting in the left wrist, a play similar to the one that nearly ended his career in 2005 – “hence the bat toss,” Werth said.
Werth explained that the pitch that hit him yesterday was different that than the one led to him missing two full seasons. It hit about an inch higher up on his arm, and the pain shot away from his hand and the tendons in his wrist. In 2005, he felt pain around his wrist so severe he could not even form a fist.
Werth insisted he did not want an X-ray in part because of his previous experience. He underwent numerous MRIs and X-rays after getting hit in 2005, none of which revealed any damage. He fixed his problem only after going to the Mayo Clinic and receiving a unique, largely unknown procedure, but the initial inability to diagnose the issue frustrated him. “I don’t want to go down that road again,” he said.