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Friday, September 12, 2014

Nationals Injury Update: Ryan Zimmerman may rehab in Florida

By on 9/12/2014 07:00:00 AM

Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman took grounders and fly balls with his speed "monitored," before Thursday night's game against the New York Mets at Citi Field, reports Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. If all goes well, he will travel to Florida to play rehab games with the Instructional League. Zimmerman has been on the DL since injuring his hamstring on July 22.

Zimmerman's swing is fine, as demonstrated by deep line drives when he took batting practice. The issue is recovery from a Grade 2 or 3 tear. According to Kilgore, "Zimmerman has been ramping up drills...moving side-to-side and backpedaling. Before the weekend is over, Zimmerman will run the bases at Citi Field." He took grounders at first base. It's not clear how many games he'll need in Florida:
It all depends on how his hamstring reacts,” manager Matt Williams said. “He’s been out so long. We’re not going to push him to nine innings right away. That would be ludicrous to do. There’s a stair-step progression to that, anyway. We’ll have to see how he reacts – how he feels physically, how his swing feels, all of 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 .282/.345/.469 with 19 homers, 15 stolen bases, 79 RBI and a league-leading 105 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 and has continued to hit homers at a startling rate.

Ryan Zimmerman
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.

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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