Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman underwent successful arthroscopic surgery this morning on the AC joint in his right shoulder, General Manager Mike Rizzo said. Zimmerman is expected to recover in six weeks and should be fully healthy for the start of spring training.
Nationals team physician Dr. Wiemi Douoguih performed the surgery, which the Nationals expected could be necessary. Zimmerman played through the injury during the majority of the season, mitigating the effects with multiple cortisone shots. The shots relieved inflammation and allowed him play at full capacity, but also enhanced the possibility of his shoulder requiring surgery.
Zimmerman, who signed a $100 million contract extension at the start of spring training, finished the season hitting .282 with a .346 on-base percentage, a .478 slugging percentage and 25 home runs.
Zimmerman first began feeling pain in his shoulder in late April, not even 20 games into the season, following a series of dives at third base and a headlong dive into home plate. He went on the disabled list on April 27 with inflammation in the AC joint of his right shoulder, which he said weakened his swing but not his throwing.
After Zimmerman returned, it became clear he was still not healthy. In the first 40 games after he came off the disabled list, Zimmerman hit .216/.270/.290 and became a hole in the middle of the Nationals’ lineup, something he had never been before.
On June 24, before a day game in Baltimore, Zimmerman received a cortisone shot and felt instant relief. Over the final 90 games of the season, he played at an MVP level, hitting .321/.383/.584 with 22 home runs. He received one more cortisone shot in mid-September to steel himself for the stretch run.
Zimmerman may have been the Nationals’ best hitter in the postseason, going 8 for 21 with two home runs and a double. He had fully scuttled any effects from the shoulder inflammation, and by next spring training, after today’s surgery, he should never have to worry about them again.
UPDATE, 4:50: Chad Tracy also underwent surgery this morning, the Nationals announced. Douoguih also performed arthroscopic surgery on Tracy’s left knee. Tracy, a pinch-hitting specialist the Nationals signed in September to a one-year, $1 million contract extension, is expected to make a full recovery well before spring training.