ST. LOUIS — With not much in the way of pregame news, here are several injury updates before the Nationals take on the Cardinals at 1:45 p.m. EDT.
3B Ryan Zimmerman (abdominal): The Nationals third baseman has been on the disabled list since Sunday, April 10 with an abdominal strain that he aggravated diving head-first into second base on April 9 in New York. Zimmerman did not travel with the team to St. Louis and he will not be with them in Pittsburgh.
Instead, Zimmerman has been working in D.C., getting treatment from the team therapist (and meeting Charlie Sheen) and the Nationals will reevaluate how ready he is for baseball activities when they return home on Monday, according to head trainer Lee Kuntz.
While no one has said anything official regarding Zimmerman’s availability to come off the disabled list on Monday, all signs point to him not being ready to return to the active lineup on Tuesday when the Mets visit Washington, D.C.
Initially, Nationals manager Jim Riggleman had said that if Zimmerman was feeling well enough after 10 days of rest that he could begin strengthening the area and participating in some baseball activities then a rehab assignment would most likely not be necessary. Thursday was the 12th day on the DL for Zimmerman, though, and he has not begun those activities.
RHP Todd Coffey (calf): Coffey threw a bullpen session today and reported no problems with the strained left calf that has him on the 15-day disabled list. Coffey is eligible to come off the DL on Sunday and there should be no issues, physically, for him to do that.
Coffey is going to take some fielding practice on Friday in Pittsburgh to test the calf, which really only caused problems for him in fielding his position, not in the actual act of throwing, so Friday will be the final test.
The Nationals will then have to make a decision on whether to ship Collin Balester back to Triple-A or make another move. Most likely, Balester will be the guy to go, again simply because he has an option. Riggleman said today that there’s a possibility the team will not activate Coffey on Sunday with a team off day on Monday, just to give him one extra day of rest and put him back on the active roster on Tuesday.
RHP Henry Rodriguez (neck): The right-handed reliever seems to be continuing to make progress with his command as he works his way through his rehab assignment. In 9 1/3 innings of work on assignment, Rodriguez has allowed just one earned run off seven hits and four walks. That’s including two more scoreless innings on Wednesday night against the Pawtucket Red Sox. He’s struck out 13 and has reportedly hit 100 and over several times on the radar guns.
The Nationals have until May 7 to keep Rodriguez on rehab assignment but Riggleman said today that it could be sooner than the requisite 30 days but would force the team into making some tough decisions as to who will go when Rodriguez is ready to be put on the roster.
RHP Stephen Strasburg (elbow): At the start of the month, before heading to extended spring training in Viera, Fla., Strasburg went home to San Diego and saw Dr. Lewis Yocum, the doctor who performed his Tommy John surgery last year, for a follow up visit.
According to Kuntz, the visit went well and Strasburg has not suffered any setbacks in his rehabilitation process. He’s currently throwing long toss from over 100 feet but has yet to throw off a mound. There is no timetable for when he might progress on to doing that, Kuntz said.
RHP Chien-Ming Wang (shoulder): Wang threw two innings in an extended spring training game on Wednesday, Kuntz said, and reported no issues. While there still remains no timetable for when Wang may be able to go out on a rehab assignment and face minor league hitters (meaning those not at extended spring training), the reports that have been coming out of Florida have been positive.
“We’re just trying to ramp him up and keep him on a normal schedule like on a starter’s schedule where he does his pens and then get him back into activity and work toward getting him out on a rehab assignment,” Kuntz said. “I don’t think we’ve come as far as putting that on the schedule.”
RHP Elvin Ramirez (shoulder): The Nationals’ Rule Five pick received a cortisone injection last week in his throwing shoulder after dealing with some irritation, Kuntz said, and will now target a return to his throwing program.