Ryan Zimmerman went 2 for 4 with a double and a strikeout in the series opener with the Texas Rangers on Friday, leaving Washington’s first baseman with a .365/.409/.697 line, 19 doubles and 17 home runs over 57 games and 230 plate appearances in 2017.
Zimmerman was noticeably absent on Saturday afternoon, however, when the 32-year-old infielder didn’t start against Rangers’ lefty Martin Perez, or pinch hit late in a close game when there were a couple obvious spots to use him.
Nationals’ skipper Dusty Baker confirmed the obvious after the second straight loss in the nation’s capital, when he was asked directly if Zimmerman had been available.
“If he had been available he would have been playing against a left today,” Baker said, “and if he was available he would have been hitting against the lefty with the runner on third, so I don’t know if he’s — he wasn’t available today, no, and then he’s questionable for tomorrow.”
“He dove for a ball, I think in LA,” Baker explained, “and his back locked up on him, they’ve been working on him, and so that’s what he’s dealing with.”
Zimmerman told reporters, as quoted by MASNSports.com’s Pete Kerzel, that he didn’t think it would be a long-term problem, but he was taking a common sense approach to dealing with the issue.
“Just one of those things where knowing what I’ve known in the past,” Zimmerman said, “if you continue to play and it gets worse, then something bad happens. But if you give it a day or two, then you can kind of just stop it right there.”
Zimmerman added that while he likely wouldn’t play on Sunday either, “I can’t see me not playing on Monday.”
Adam Lind filled in at first in the second and third games against the Rangers this weekend, going 2 for 7 with a walk, which left him with a .325/.393/.597 line, six doubles, five HRs, 10 walks and 11 Ks in 37 games and 89 plate appearances this season.
When the lineup was released this afternoon, Zimmerman’s name was not penciled in.
Baker talked before the game about the decision to hold him out for another day.
“He’s doing better,” Baker said. “He’s doing a lot better. I just didn’t think it was worth — I just decided to wait until tomorrow and then against a knuckleballer he doesn’t have to rotate quite as hard, quite as violently to catch up with his fastest pitch, so I decided to wait until tomorrow, and hopefully he can be in there — hopefully quite a few games until the next off day.”
“If we were in August, or probably September, he’d try to play, but now is not the time, like I tell him, it ain’t hero time yet. How many times you guys hear me say that.”