An MRI exam on Jordan Zimmermann’s right arm revealed a biceps strain and no structural damage to his shoulder or elbow, Manager Matt Williams said, and the Nationals are confident Zimmermann will not even require a stint on the disabled list.
“I didn’t think it was bad, anything serious,” Zimmermann said on his way out of the visitors clubhouse Saturday night, a red arm sleeve around his elbow. “The MRI came back and looked pretty good. A little inflammation. Give it rest for a few days and go home and come back and started throwing.”
Zimmermann, the Nationals’ lone all-star, said he will head home to Wisconsin. Not only will no National play in Tuesday night’s showcase. There will be no Nationals players on the premises at Target Field.
Zimmerman plans to rest over the break and resume playing catch again Thursday. He believes he can rebuild his arm in time to rejoin the Nationals’ rotation without requiring a trip to the DL.
“That’s the plan,” Zimmermann said. “I don’t see that happening at all. I feel pretty good today. I didn’t throw, but for the most part it feels good. I expect it to get better every day.”
Williams said he expected Zimmermann would not go on the disabled list, but that the Nationals were not eliminating the possibility. If Zimmermann stays off the disabled list, his first start after the break would likely come July 22. If he doesn’t, he would be eligible to return July 27, and the Nationals would only need to use a fill-in once.
“He’ll go on his normal throwing program and see how he feels,” Williams said. “And then once we determine that, we can determine whether it’s something we need to look at after the break or not.”
Zimmermann exited the Nationals’ 6-2 loss Friday night in the fourth inning with a cramp in his biceps. The Nationals expressed optimism that Zimmermann had suffered only a muscular ailment. But they worried that the pain may have hinted at an elbow problem for a star pitcher who underwent Tommy John surgery as a rookie in 2009.
“Anybody who has been through Tommy John, whether it’s a guy on our team or not, or someone else’s team, you never want to see someone go through that stuff,” third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said. “With how hard he worked to get back and obviously how great he’s been pitching, it’s a plus for us. It’s nice to have the break kind of built in here, to not have to worry about the DL. He’s going to be a big part of us in the second half and hopefully he can get back from the All-Star break and everything will be good.”
Said Williams: “Given his history, yeah, that’s a big relief for us. The way he reacted last night, we didn’t think there was an issue with the elbow or the shoulder. But we had to make sure.”