Ryan Zimmerman receives MRI, remains out of the Nationals lineup with left hamstring injury


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Despite saying yesterday that he expected to return this afternoon, third baseman Ryan Zimmerman received an MRI exam on his sore left hamstring at noon today and will miss his second consecutive game against the Mets. The results from the test will determine the Nationals’ course of action. Manager Davey Johnson said he does not believe Zimmerman will land on the disabled list.

Zimmerman first felt a cramp in his left hamstring last weekend against the Braves. He aggravated it Wednesday night against the Marlins, leaving the game after he made a throw on the run. Zimmerman sat out Friday, but after a brief battery of drills he said he would play today. Instead, he underwent an MRI.

“I know that he’s concerned about it,” Johnson said. “He’s a gamer. He wants to play. … I’m going to really leave that up to the doctors. But if they have any question about it, I’ll stay off him. If you don’t pull it, it may be a week. As far as I’m concerned, it’s going to be a DL thing.”

General Manager Mike Rizzo said he believed Zimmerman would not land on the disabled list even in the worst-case scenario. But, he cautioned, the Nationals would have to see the test results first to be certain.

Yesterday, Zimmerman, Johnson and Nationals medical personnel decided together on Zimmerman not playing. Zimmerman had conversations with hitting coach Rick Eckstein about the cramping and tightness in his hamstring giving him difficulty when he landed and rotated on his left leg as he swung. Eckstein informed Johnson, which convinced him to be cautious.

“It’s something I don’t want to take a chance on getting worse,” Johnson said. “All games are important. But to take the chance of setting him back and missing double the time, I’m not willing to take that gamble.”

In both 2011 and 2012, Zimmerman landed on the disabled list in April. Two years ago, he tore an abdominal muscle that eventually required surgery. Last season, Zimmerman missed 15 days with an inflamed shoulder joint, an ailment that eventually required offseason surgery. Zimmerman also landed on the disabled list 2008, and in 2010 he missed roughly 20 games with injury despite never landing on the DL.

This season, Zimmerman is hitting .226/.311/.358 with one homer. His throwing mechanics came under scrutiny this week after he made four errors in five games.

Second baseman Danny Espinosa, meanwhile, will return to the lineup after he missed four games with swelling in his right hand and wrist. Espinosa was hit a Paul Maholm fastball Sunday, leading to him not playing for nearly a week.

Here are the full lineups for today:

1. Denard Span, CF

2. Jayson Werth, RF

3. Bryce Harper, LF

4. Adam LaRoche, 1B

5. Ian Desmond, SS

6. Chad Tracy, 3B

7. Danny Espinosa, 2B

8. Kurt Suzuki, C

9. Gio Gonzalez, SP

Mets

1. Justin Turner, SS

2. David Murphy, 2B

3. David Wright, 3B

4. John Buck, C

5. Ike Davis, 1B

6. Marlon Byrd, RF

7. Lucas Duda, LF

8. Colllin Cowgill, CF

9. Jeremy Hefner, SP

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