"We're going to get it going," Nats' Skipper Jim Riggleman after Saturday's frustrating loss to San Francisco, which saw the Nationals fail to capitalize on two bases-loaded situations in the first two innings and another in the ninth, nine walks total from the Giants' pitchers and three hit batters that provided the team with fourteen baserunners, only one of whom scored in a 2-1 loss that ended with a bases-loaded K by Adam LaRoche. "I'm really proud of this ballclub," Riggleman continued, "the way they compete and the way they agonize after a tough loss like that. There's a lot of irritated people in that clubhouse right now that we didn't win that ballgame and that's the way it's supposed to be."
The Nationals will have to get it going without the so-called Face of the Franchise, however. Ryan Zimmerman was diagnosed Saturday with an abdominal tear (an "isolated tear of rectus" as the Nats' press release described it), and the 26-year-old former Gold Glove and Silver Slugger winning third baseman will have surgery Tuesday morning in Philly, performed by Dr. Bill Meyers, after which he's expected to miss six weeks while recovering and rehabbing. Zimmerman's been out since April 9th, and by the time he returns (if he's on schedule) he'll have missed around sixty games.
The Nats' third baseman and first 1st Round pick told reporters on Saturday that after attempting to work his way back from the injury which he first suffered in Spring Training and then aggravated sliding into second base back during the Nats' series with the Mets in New York, but, as he told CSN Washington's Mark Zuckerman, as quoted in an article entitled, "Zimmerman requires surgery for abdominal tear":
"'We went through it a couple of weeks trying to get it better. It's frustrating, but it's nice to have closure, get it fixed and get working to come back and help this team continue to play well like they have been.'"
A few hours before the announcement of the diagnosis of a muscle tear, Riggleman told the D.C. press corps that Zimmerman had, "...gone out and thrown and from one day to the next didn't feel any better than the previous day, and that's after two or three weeks off, so that's concerning." The official diagnosis came several hours later. If he does, in fact, miss sixty games, Zimmerman could end up with the shortest season he's played since debuting in late 2005. A labrum tear cost Zimmerman 48 games in 2008, and a strained rib muscle ended his 2010 campaign, but he'd avoided surgery to this point. For a franchise that's seen their top-rated pitching prospects each miss full seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery, (first Jordan Zimmermann in 2010 and now Stephen Strasburg), it's another painful blow.
How much will the Nationals miss him? Both D.C. GM Mike Rizzo, who told CSN Washington's Mr. Zuckerman, "'He's a huge part of our ballclub, but we're going to have to find ways to win games without him,'" and manager Jim Riggleman said that they can't afford to worry about that.
"No one's got more respect for Ryan Zimmerman than I do," the Nationals' manager said, "He's a ballplayer. I've said that many times. He's not a hitter, he's not a slugger. He's not one thing. He's everything. He's a great baserunner. He's a heady player. He's a good hitter. He's a run producer. He's all those things, but, I really don't give it any thought. We play with the twenty-five we have, and I'm very proud of the way those twenty-five get after it every day, so, it's an opportunity for some other people to show what they can do and they're getting that opportunity and they're playing hard and they're impressing me with their efforts, so I just want Zim to get healthy and when he comes back be 100% and when he is, there's going to be a lot of baseball left."