27-year-old Washington Nationals' third baseman Ryan Zimmerman went on the DL with what was diagnosed as inflammation in the AC joint in his right shoulder back in late April. Since being reinserted into the lineup the former Silver Slugger-winning third baseman hasn't looked the same at the plate. In 40 games and 174 plate appearances since the Nats' infielder returned to action, Zimmerman has put up a .216/.270/.290 line with six home runs, two doubles, 12 walks and 33 K's. After Zimmerman's 0 for 4 performance Friday night, Nationals' manager Davey Johnson, who last week said he wasn't sure Zim was 100% healthy, told reporters he thought Zimmerman's shoulder was fine, but admitted he was concerned about the lack of production.
"He's talking with Rick Eckstein, our hitting coach," the Nationals' manager told reporters, "He feels pretty good. He's seeing the ball good. He hit the ball hard up the middle, that's just the way the it's going. But he'll come out of it. It's a tough time for him and we need him."
After another 0 for 4 performance Saturday night, Zimmerman finally said what everyone who's been watching him at the plate for the last few weeks has been thinking. Something's not right. "'I’ve been hitting for a while here and I don’t miss fastballs like I’ve been missing fastballs,'" Zimmerman told reporters including the Washington Post's James Wagner, "'It’s frustrating. . . . If things keep going the way they have been going, we’re going to have to do something.'" Zimmerman will continue to receive treatment on the shoulder. After that?
Reports last night said Zimmerman may ultimately get a cortisone shot or potentially go back on the DL and take advantage of the upcoming All-Star Break to rest the ailing shoulder as much as possible before what is shaping up to be an interesting second-half for the NL East's 1st place Nationals. Mark DeRosa, who's made several rehab starts and appears ready to return from the DL could fill in some at third should Zimmerman miss any time and utility man Steve Lombardozzi's also seen time at the so-called hot corner this season when Zimmerman's been unavailable.
No word yet on whether or not Zimmerman will play this afternoon in the finale of the three-game series with the Orioles, but after struggling at the plate all season the third baseman's finally admitting that something has to be done and is now focused on getting back to 100% so he can contribute what the Nationals need and have come to expect out of their three-hole hitter.