Zimmerman Scheduled for Shoulder MRI

By Chico Harlan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 2, 2008

PHOENIX, June 1 -- Ryan Zimmerman, who has missed the Washington Nationals' last seven games, will have an MRI exam Monday on his injured left shoulder.

Results of that test by team orthopedist Benjamin Shaffer will determine whether Zimmerman can play Tuesday, when the Nationals begin a homestand, or whether the third baseman will require further rest and a possible trip to the disabled list.

"Well, I just hope for the best, obviously," Manager Manny Acta said. "He doesn't feel that it's anything serious, but not until we have the results from the MRI [will we] find out."

Sunday, Zimmerman issued the rote assurances about his lingering injury. Yes, it's still a day-to-day thing, he said. Yes, it's still getting better.

But somehow, Zimmerman's injury has managed to get better every day without improving enough to let him play. He resumed taking batting practice this weekend and said the shoulder -- injured two weeks ago during a head-first slide -- felt loose, but still not 100 percent.

"If it doesn't get better," he said, "I mean they have to do something."

Milledge Off and Running

Three of Lastings Milledge's first five stolen base attempts this season resulted in outs. Milledge became gun-shy, fearful of wiping out big innings with one 90-foot sprint.

In the last week, though, Milledge has at once dropped his fear and lifted his success rate. During the Nationals' six-game road trip, which ended Sunday, Milledge stole five bases. His last eight attempts have been successful.

He has swiped 10 bases this season, best on the team.

"I've been feeling really good stealing bases," said Milledge, who stole three last year with the New York Mets. "I can't be afraid of getting thrown out. I was thinking about it too much [at first]. I didn't want to give outs away. And now I'm just saying, 'I'm just gonna go.' We all know we have to play small ball. We don't have guys who are going to hit us 40 or 50 home runs."

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