An MRI exam taken on Ryan Zimmerman’s troublesome right shoulder revealed inflammation and no structural damage, Manager Matt Williams said. The results, at least for now, provided enough promise to keep Zimmerman off the disabled list and convinced Williams that Zimmerman can remain a third baseman for the remainder of the season.
The Nationals will reevaluate Zimmerman after Monday’s off day. They hope rest will allow Zimmerman to recapture strength in his shoulder. The Nationals could consider using Zimmerman as a part-time first baseman, part-time pinch hitter until he regains his throwing form. Williams believes his current role will remain unchanged.
“I envision him playing third base,” Williams said. “That’s the plan. You have to look at things and adjust if need be. For now, as soon as feels good, then he’ll be back at third.”
Williams will suggest Zimmerman changes his routine. Since Zimmerman underwent major shoulder surgery in November 2012, he has kept to an intense, intricate throwing program. He plays catch constantly to keep him his arm loose, particularly in the early-season chill. Williams believes the throwing led to his debilitating inflammation.
“We look at it and say, it’s a little bit of overload,” Williams said. “We have to curtail that just a touch to make sure that he feels good. What does that involve? Maybe it doesn’t involve as many throws. Maybe it’s cutting down on the amount of grounders he takes in pregame. I know that he looks to go down, especially when it’s cold, in the cage and throw. Maybe it’s an adjustment to that, too.”
Zimmerman entered Sunday’s 2-1 victory over the Braves as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning. The shoulder pain has not affected his swing, he said. Zimmerman struck out against reliever Gus Schlosser. Williams said he had no qualms using Zimmerman.
“We’re going to take the appropriate steps to make sure his arm feels good,” Williams said. “Once it does, he’s going to play third for us. Until that time, there may be some adjustment within there. I don’t anticipate that being a long time.”