In 74 games and 313 plate appearances before his first of two DL stints this season, Ryan Zimmerman put up a .221/.284/.402 line, with 13 doubles and 12 home runs.
In early July, however, the Washington Nationals’ 31-year-old first baseman suffered a left rib cage strain which landed him on the disabled list for the sixth straight season.
"Any time you get hurt it’s obviously frustrating," Zimmerman told reporters.
"Obviously we all work hard to try and play every game and be on the field, that's the ultimate goal, but things happen.”
Zimmerman returned after missing 13 games and played six before he got hit on the left wrist with a fastball in San Francisco and suffered a bone bruise that landed him back on the Disabled List.
Dusty Baker told reporters his first baseman was obviously frustrated that he suffered another injury.
“Zim’s a little down about it because he’s tired of being hurt and tired of going on the DL,” Baker explained.
“I told him to play the game in his mind as if he was there and also him and Joe Ross will be still strong when everybody else is weak and tired down the stretch. So there’s still ample time for them to play hero when it really counts at the end.”
"It’s really frustrating,” Zimmerman acknowledged, as quoted by CSN Mid-Atlantic writer Chase Hughes.
“I think I’ve done a pretty good job trying to stay even-keel with it. I was talking with [my agent] last night, and I was pretty upset about this," Zimmerman said.
"It’s tough. The stuff I’ve gone through, I’m just getting tired of it. I’m sure everyone’s getting tired of it as well. It’s rough. It’s frustrating, upsetting. I want to be out there. I want to be part of this.”
Zimmerman said tests on the wrist confirmed nothing was broken, and there was nothing structurally wrong, but there was a deep bone bruise and swelling.
Baker was asked about Zimmerman being upset and frustrated with this latest setback.
“I had a meeting with him and [GM] Mike Rizzo this afternoon and he expressed that sentiment,” Baker said.
“I just told him you’ve got to be strong and just think — like I said, I told him to play the game in his mind and frustration really doesn’t help the situation, it can actually make it worse. If you worry, it impedes God’s healing process by worrying too much and so I just told him to work on other parts of his body.
“Keep your legs strong and make your other arm strong and come back in better shape than when you left and I told him I believe in — especially key guys that don’t feel sorry for themselves to be with the team and travel with the team and try to help out with the team and try to play the game in your mind as if you were playing, so I would like to hope that Zim will do that.”
He did, however, add that he understood Zimmerman’s frustration, but a day after saying that they had not yet talked about placing Zimmerman on the DL, the Nats decided they had to make the move.
“They told him three or four days in the first place,” Baker said.
“Now they’re telling him another three or four days, so you just don’t know. You guys are asking me questions that I can’t answer and he can’t answer.
“One thing is for sure, we really didn’t like playing short. We’ve been playing short on and off for the last month.
“It hasn’t really bitten us except a couple of occasions, and just somewhere — and even if Zim comes back in a week, he hasn’t swung, so it will be like starting all over again.
“He was getting his aggression back, he was feeling good about himself.
“Sometimes you have those years where things go poorly, but like I said, we’ve got a big two months coming here and hopefully a third...”
So, Baker was asked, was he concerned that the persistent injury issues and the frustration might have Zimmerman thinking about what the future holds?
“It weighs on your mind,” Baker said. “And I urged Zim to play the game in his mind because sometimes your mind will start thinking crazy. I told him just play it in your mind and stay in love with the game, because sometimes as you get older, either you get out of shape and you lose your desire to play sometimes or sometimes you get tired of pain, and so he’s a long ways from through and we’ll get him through this here.”
The most frustrating part, after the shoulder issues, hamstring issue, fractured thumb, oblique injury and rib cage strain was that it was a random wild pitch that resulted in the latest injury.
“That was kind of a freak accident,” he said. “It’s not like he injured his knee or pulled his hammy or anything like that, that can happen to anybody.
“It happened to Jayson Werth to a worse degree than this. And you see Jayson is playing well now, so why can’t Zim?”