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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Nationals Injury Update: Ryan Zimmerman takes batting practice

By on 9/09/2014 06:00:00 PM

UPDATED 9/9/2014 6:00 p.m. As of yesterday, Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman had not been cleared for full running or swinging a bat. But today, Tuesday, for the first time since his injury, he took batting practice at Nats Park before the second game of the Atlanta Braves series, as tweeted by Holden Kushner of MASN.

Original Post.
While perhaps the need for Zimmerman's bat is not immediate (the Nats lead the NL East by eight games after defeating the Atlanta Braves 2-1 on Monday night), they hope he'll return by late September.

With only twenty games left for the Nationals in the regular season, and no minor-league games for rehab at-bats, time is running short for the veteran slugger to get in shape even though he hasn't had any setbacks. “The progression is still the same,” Zimmerman said. “Nothing crazy, just doing a few things, trying to get back and at least get some games in before the season is over.”

Manager Matt Williams feels it won't take long for Zimmerman's swing mechanics to return, but the "telling sign for us is him getting on the base paths, because that’s ultimately what’s going to be the determining factor anyway. … When that will be, I don’t know. I think he’s fairly close to being able to do that.”

If and when he's ready, Zimmerman may be limited to pinch hitting or late inning work. The Nationals' third base is currently occupied by Anthony Rendon, who is hitting .280/.341/.464 (OPS+ 120), with 18 homers, 16 stolen bases, 76 RBI and a league-leading 101 runs scored. It's possible Zimmerman could play first base to give Adam LaRoche and his chancy back a break, but LaRoche was just named NL Player of the Week.

In the 17 games before he was injured running out a grounder on July 22,  Zimmerman slashed 387/.437/.613 with two homers and 17 RBI.  He also fractured his thumb in a pickoff play April 12 and missed 44 games. Overall, in 53 games, Zimmerman has posted a line of .282/.345/.456 (OPS+ 121) with five homers and 36 RBI. Due to on-going shoulder problems, Zimmerman played 26 games in left field and several innings at first base this season.

Ryan Zimmerman

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 home runs 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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