Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman felt “peace of mind” after receiving the results from the MRI exam of his shoulder, even if he still may fly back to Washington tomorrow and land on the disabled list. Zimmerman and the Nationals feel certain he will not miss extensive time with structural damage, only a handful of games, at worse, with inflammation in his AC joint.
Zimmerman rested his shoulder today, and tomorrow he will try again to swing the bat. If he still feels tightness and pain, he will fly to D.C. to receive treatment, including a cortisone shot. That would land him on the disabled list, but likely for only a brief period of time. He would be eligible to return May 6 for the Nationals’ Sunday Night Baseball game against the Phillies, their first appearance on the showcase since the night Nationals Park opened.
“I think the important thing is there’s nothing wrong with my shoulder,” Zimmerman said. “That was good news. I don’t think anyone really thought there was going to be anything wrong, but just to get it done and have proof that there is nothing wrong is peace of mind. Now it’s just a matter of figuring out the combination to get it to relax and once that’s fine then I’ll be able to play.”
Zimmerman received a cortisone shot Saturday, the day the Nationals scratched him shortly before a win over the Marlins. Zimmerman felt no relief, though, because the team doctor that administered the shot, “missed the spot,” Johnson said.
Johnson expressed worry late Tuesday night that Zimmerman could miss significant time with the shoulder injury. Zimmerman’s MRI provided relief for him, too.
“I was hearing all kinds of things,” Johnson said. “We’ve had a tough history this spring with some other serious injuries. That’s happened two or three times. I was real concerned.”
If the Nationals need to place Zimmerman on the disabled list, they have several candidates at Class AAA Syracuse. Johnson mentioned Tyler Moore, Brett Carroll and Bryce Harper as possibilities, although he appeared to be joking about Harper.
Moore, who hit 62 homers over the past two seasons at Class A Potomac and Class AA Harrisburg, has started his Class AAA career by blasting six homers and two doubles in 17 games.
“Tyler Moore is going real good,” Johnson said. “Bryce hit a home run the other day, so he’s hot now. But I’ll address that when we find out tomorrow.”
Zimmerman developed the inflammation in his AC joint during the Nationals’ recent homestand after making several diving plays at third base and leaping into home plate trying to avoid a tag. He initially iced his shoulder and played through what he considered minor pain.
The pain actually disappeared until Saturday, at which point he and the Nationals still believed rest and the anti-inflammatory shot would be enough to manage the pain. Zimmerman said an MRI was not necessary until Tuesday night.
“It could be really no time if we really wanted to do it that way,” Zimmerman said. But I don’t think that’s the smartest way, and I really don’t think they think it’s the smartest way, at least in April, to do it. If it was later in the year it’s a different story. But we’ve got off to a good start, and we have the luxury of doing the right thing.”