Unfortunately, it would appear that for the second year in a row, 28-year-old Washington Nationals' right-hander Jordan Zimmermann will miss the chance to pitch in the Midsummer Classic. Zimmermann, who was added to the NL All-Star roster last Sunday, left Friday night's start against the Philadelphia Phillies in Citizens Bank Park after just 3 ⅓ innings on the mound in which he gave up six hits and four earned runs, complaining of a cramp in his right bicep.
Zimmermann decided against pitching in last year's All-Star Game after earning his first nomination when he opted to rest a bothersome neck and prepare for the second-half.
Nats' skipper Matt Williams said after last night's game that the Nationals' '07 2nd Round pick would have an MRI today, but pitching in the All-Star Game would appear unlikely at this point.
While speaking about the early diagnosis of the issue which led to Zimmermann leaving the game against the Phillies, Williams was asked if this meant that he would miss the All-Star Game?
"I believe so," the first-year manager responded. "We want to be cautious in that regard, so we'll see what the results [of the MRI] are tomorrow, but I don't anticipate him pitching."
Williams said he would contact NL All-Star skipper Mike Matheny of the St. Louis Cardinals to see what could be worked out.
"I'll speak with Mike Matheny about it and we'll see what other options may be available, certainly what his needs are for the game, but I would be very cautious about [Zimmermann pitching]."
As Williams explained, since Zimmermann was the lone representative of the NL East's first-place Nationals, they will have to send someone else.
"We have to have a representative," he said, "and if it's not Jordan, it's got to be somebody. So we'll talk about it and see what Mike's got in mind."
As for Zimmermann, Williams explained what happened once the righty left the mound in Citizens Bank Park.
"When he came out of the game he saw the doctor. He complained out there of a bicep cramp, so doc checked him out. It doesn't seem to be any issue with the shoulder or the elbow and it seems to be in the belly of the muscle.
"We're going to get an MRI in the morning, but I think Jordan feels okay about it. When we walked out there he said, 'My bicep is cramping on me.'"
The issue first cropped up during last night's start.
"He said he felt it at the beginning of the inning," Williams said. "But he didn't seem alarmed by it because it wasn't something that was associated with elbow or shoulder. But he threw the next pitch and it cramped on him so he called us out."
Asked if the issue might be a sign or result of a problem related to the elbow or shoulder, Williams said that is what the MRI will help determine.
"That's why we're getting an MRI, but the original reports are that he was cramping in the bicep, so we'll see what the results are, but post game he feels okay about it so we'll see how the films turn out tomorrow."
"We'll know more tomorrow, but certainly it's always a concern when you've got to take somebody out of the game because they've got an issue," he said. "But we'll get more results tomorrow. But, the fact that it's in the belly of the muscle is in a better spot than anywhere else."
"The fact that he said it's in the belly of the muscle is probably the best thing that you can hear when you go out there as opposed to elbow."
As for the results of Zimmermann's work on the mound before he left the outing?
The Phillies attacked Zimmermann early in the count through the first three-plus innings, with Marlon Byrd and Cody Asche singling in the second and scoring on a double to center by Domonic Brown and Grady Sizemore singling in the third and scoring on the first of Philly shortstop Jimmy Rollins' two home runs last night.
"Lot of first pitch fastballs," Williams said, "pounding strikes, but they got on a couple of first-pitch fastballs tonight with guys in scoring position. And then Jimmy hit the two-run home on a first-pitch heater. They're a good fastball-hitting club."
The Phillies won, 6-2, but the big concern was not the loss to the Nationals' NL East rivals, but the potential loss of one of their most consistent starters.
More information to follow when the results of the MRI are released publicly...
• We talked about Zimmermann leaving the game, Bryce Harper's home run and more on Nats Nightly last night...