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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Nationals Injury Update: Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman, Steven Souza

By on 8/12/2014 08:45:00 PM

Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams gave updates on three injured players before Tuesday night's game against the New York Mets: right fielder Jayson Werth, rookie outfielder Steven Souza Jr, and third baseman Ryan Zimmerman.

The good news for Souza Jr is a clean MRI on his left shoulder, according to Mark Zuckerman of Nats Insider. The rookie outfielder was injured in a wall collision on August 9 and is on the 15-day DL. The encouraging news is that Zimmerman, on the DL since July 23 with a Grade 3 strain of his right hamstring, is progressing in a recovery expected to last 6-8 weeks. The team tweeted,
The not-so-good news is that right fielder Jayson Werth, who has been playing though an inflammed shoulder, is not in the starting lineup. Earlier in the day the veteran underwent further tests and is expected to have an MRI. Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports,
He didn’t really feel any better [after the off-day],” Williams said. “We’re going to get him checked him again, make sure somebody puts their eyes on him and can test it, make sure that he’s good to go. It’s just not reacting well.” Despite the inflammation resurfacing, Williams said he expects Werth will not require a stint on the disabled list. Werth first felt the inflammation Friday in Atlanta, and it had improved before he aggravated his shoulder Sunday.
Werth is hitting .280/.365/.431 (OPS+ 121) with 12 homers and 63 RBI and was named NL Player of the Month for July. Werth has missed three games and is 8 for 28 with 4 RBI in August.

Now in his age-35 season, Werth was the Baltimore Orioles' first round draft pick in 1997 and was traded in December 2000 while a minor leaguer to the Toronto Blue Jays. He made his debut September 1, 2002. In March 2004 the  Blue Jays traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Jason Frasor. In 2005, his second year with the Dodgers, he averaged only .234/.338/.374, and spent the 2006 season on the DL after surgery on his left wrist. The Dodgers released him and he signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia Phillies in December 2006. He became a star with the Phillies, winning a World Series ring in 2008 and being named to the 2009 NL All-Star team.

Granted free agency after the 2010 season, Werth signed a seven-year $126 million deal with the Washington Nationals that takes him through 2017. The contract was considered an overpay by the Nationals, and a down year in 2011 seemed to confirm that. He broke his right wrist in May 2012, and played only half the season, while putting up a line of .300/.387/.440 (OPS+ 124) and endearing himself to Nats fans with a game-winning home run in Game 4 of the NLDS. In 2013, healthy except for a month on the DL with a hamstring strain, Werth slashed  .318/.398/.532 (OPS +155) with 25 homers and 82 RBI.

Souza Jr was hitting .354/.435/.601 OPS 1.036 at Triple-A Syracuse before his promotion on August 5. He was also up briefly in April, and overall is 1 for 12. The 24-year-old was drafted by the Nationals in 2007 and made his debut April 13, 2014. He is pre-arb and under team control through 2019. 

In addition to the hamstring injury, Zimmerman, missed 44 games after fracturing his thumb in a pickoff play at second base on April 12. In 52 games, he has posted a line of .282/.345/.456 with five homers and 36 RBI. Due to shoulder problems, Zimmerman played 26 games in left field and several innings at first base this season.

Zimmerman and the Nats managed the shoulder throughout 2012 with DL stints and cortisone shots; he underwent surgery in October 2012. Still recovering from the surgery in 2013, Zimmerman committed 21 errors, mostly wild throws to first. However, even with the shoulder injury hampering his swing, Zimmerman slugged 26 homeruns in 2013, along with 79 RBI and a .275/.344/.465 batting line.

Now in his age-29 season, Zimmerman was the Nationals' first round draft pick in 2005 and made his debut in September of that year. He was runner-up Rookie of the Year in 2006 (to Hanley Ramirez, then of the Florida Marlins). He was named to the NL All-Star team in 2009 and twice won the Silver Slugger award (2009, 2010). A career Nat, Zimmerman is signed to an 11-year $135 million contract that takes him though 2019 (option for 2020).

  (Rose Ingberman) and read her blog Lady and the Nats
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