Ryan Zimmerman has been the cornerstone third baseman for the Nationals franchise since his rookie season in 2006. Across a bevy of lineup changes and roster moves, Zimmerman has been a stalwart in the locker room and has evolved into his veteran role in Washington seamlessly.
Now, the nine year vet has been plagued by a nagging shoulder injury, one that required an MRI recently and has drawn concerns from fans. Manager Matt Williams addressed the issue in an interview last night with 106.7 The Fan, and talked about the possibility of limiting his reps at third and a potential move across the diamond.
“We have to look at Ryan, though, and say, ‘Would I like Ryan to play third? Yeah, I would. For a long time? Yes,'” Williams said. “But the fact of the matter is, Ryan’s got an arthritic shoulder.”
The 29-year old underwent the MRI but the results came back negative, showing no signs of critical damage. Zimmerman’s throwing issues can’t be ignored when you consider the two throwing errors he made against the Braves during their weekend series.
He can play first base in a pinch, fielding isn’t an issue here. Don’t be surprised to see Zimmerman take a few outings at first, at least for a probationary period until they can further evaluate his shoulder. The questions that come revolve around the implications of such a decision. My personal prediction is that in games against the American League, Adam LaRoche will take over designated hitter duties and Zimmerman will slide over to third. Danny Espinosa has been the go to utility infielder, and he can play anywhere inside the diamond.
The Nationals play next, tonight at 7:05 when Gio Gonzalez takes the mound at home against the Marlins.
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