Worst Fears Realized as Zimmerman Heads to D.L.

Posted by Dave Nichols | Monday, April 11, 2011 | , , | 4 comments »

According to multiple reports citing a club source, the Washington Nationals will put 3B Ryan Zimmerman on the 15-day Disabled List, retroactive to Apr. 10, before the start of tomorrow's 7:05 game with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Zimmerman aggravated the abdominal strain he originally sustained in spring training, causing him to miss three games in March, sliding headfirst into second base in Saturday's 8-4 loss to the New York Mets.

Zimmerman (.357/.486/.536 in 37 PAs) was one of the precious few actually producing at the plate in the first nine games of the season.  He and 2B Danny Espinosa are the only Nats regulars hitting over .250 and losing hit bat -- and presence -- in the middle of the lineup will be a serious blow to this Nationals offense.

The Nats are hitting just .217/.321/.328 as a team, and at exactly 4.00 runs per game are in the lower third of N.L. teams in scoring.  Subtract Zimmerman from that?  Not pretty.

Already this season we've seen teams pitch around Zimmerman, and his absence will be huge.  The Nats are expected to fill in with Alex Cora and Jerry Hairston at third base, and so far there's been no indication of the corresponding move from the minor leagues.  The team could really use a right-handed bat off the bench though.

This is a very early test of the caliber of players GM Mike Rizzo acquired this off-season for backup roles for this team.  It's not an ideal situation to lose your best player not two weeks into the season, but this is what the Nats are now faced with.

Additionally, Adam LaRoche left Sunday's game with a strained groin.  He's expected to return to the lineup, but he's also suffering discomfort with a left rotator cuff tear.  Were he to go down now for any length of time it would truly test the organizational depth.

Either way, this is not the news anyone wanted to hear, especially to kick off a series with the Phillies.

4 comments

  1. bdrube // April 11, 2011 at 4:10 PM  

    I really hope that is the LAST time we ever see Ryan slide into a base head first. Frankly I don't know what he was thinking doing the belly flop when he already had an adominal injury.

    The team needs to play the video of Nyjer busting his hand over and over again in the clubhouse until the players get the message.

  2. Dave Nichols // April 11, 2011 at 4:18 PM  

    bd: i agree, especially considering there wasn't even a play there. this really cuts into the nats offense in a BIG way.

  3. Anonymous // April 11, 2011 at 4:33 PM  

    I wonder if Brian Bixler has a chance at a call up? He's a right handed hitter that demonstrated in the spring that he might be ready to hit major league pitching. (Then again, so did Michael Morse.) But Bixler could bat R and sub on the left side of the infield as needed.

  4. Dave Nichols // April 11, 2011 at 4:48 PM  

    anon: Bixler is one of the names if heard being mentioned. in parts of two seasons with PIT he hit .178/.238/.237 in the regular season. true enough he hits right-handed. if Hairston's going to be playing infield though they may opt for OF, and Bernie hasn't played in minors yet due to family issue.