Dusty Baker told reporters after last night’s 4-2 loss to the New York Mets in Nationals Park that first baseman Ryan Zimmerman was unavailable for the game after suffering what the Nats’ skipper described as an arm or shoulder injury sliding into home in the finale of Washington’s series in Houston.
“He was unavailable tonight because I think he hurt his arm or shoulder — and he really couldn’t swing,” Baker explained, noting that the injury happened, “... on the headfirst slide yesterday into the plate,” late in the game with the Astros.
“So we were shorthanded tonight and we hope that — I don’t anticipate he’ll be much better tomorrow, but hopefully on Sunday.”
Baker provided more information this afternoon, when he noted that Zimmerman was not in the lineup today for the second of four with the Mets. He also clarified, as Zim did when he met with reporters, that it was a tricep issue.
“He just said like yesterday he couldn’t swing,” Baker said, “at least it wasn’t advisable for him to swing cause then with the doubleheader coming up tomorrow we certainly need him in one of those games, so I just thought the best move was not to play him today and then he’ll be ready for one of the games tomorrow, but it might loosen up, trainers are working on it, to be able to pinch hit tonight.”
Baker also said that, like a few other little details that could become important in a postseason run, the Nationals needed to get better at helping one another make on-field decisions.
“I asked him why did he slide headfirst and he said that the catcher [Brian] McCann wasn’t officially blocking the plate,” Baker said, “but he didn’t give him much of a window, plus he didn’t know whether to stand or slide or how close it was going to be even though it wasn’t a play, so I’m telling them we have to get better at the trail runner — directing traffic to tell guys what to do, and like I said, that’s another improvement thing — I don’t know who was on deck, but you’ve got to get there and tell — like in the old days, you told them to slide this way or that way or stand up, or, ‘You better get down,’ you know what I mean, so we just have to be more emphatic — he probably was there — but we just have to be more emphatic with our signals.”
JAYSON WERTH/TREA TURNER/MAX SCHERZER:
Baker talked about a couple other injured Nationals as well, telling reporters that he hadn’t spoken to Max Scherzer yet today, after the right-hander got through a bullpen yesterday and another throwing session this afternoon, but he said they have a backup plan if Scherzer can’t go in one of the two games of the doubleheader tomorrow, but Scherzer is, “... close though, he’s very close.”
As for Jayson Werth and Trea Turner, who were both in Nationals Park today before they head out for a rehab game with the Potomac Nationals, Baker said he wasn’t quite sure when they’ll be ready to return.
“They’re here, I have to talk to Jayson after talking to you guys, and I don’t know how close they are, but I’ll talk to them.”
“I don’t want them back struggling,” Baker added, “I’d like them back kind of near the top of their game, I don’t know if you can expect them to be at the top of their game, but near the top of their game.”