- The Washington Times - Monday, May 26, 2008

The Washington Nationals are not concerned there will be lasting effects of third baseman Ryan Zimmerman’s left shoulder injury. Nor are they concerned there will be lasting effects of catcher Paul Lo Duca talking about it on television.

Yesterday morning, both manager Manny Acta and Lo Duca downplayed the injured catcher’s appearance on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network’s broadcast of Washington’s loss to the Milwaukee Brewers the night before, when Lo Duca said the third baseman was dealing with a “nerve issue” in his left shoulder.

Zimmerman injured the shoulder sliding headfirst into second after a double in the Nationals’ win over the Orioles on May 18. He had the shoulder in a protective wrap during the week but had not discussed it until he was asked about it after Saturday’s game, when he said he was only dealing with soreness.

Lo Duca’s comments didn’t make the injury sound more serious than that — he said the injury was minor and compared the feeling to sleeping on it wrong. And if there was any worry that the catcher, himself on the disabled list with a broken bone in his right hand, was violating an unwritten baseball rule by discussing a teammate’s injury, it didn’t come from Acta or Lo Duca.

“That’s his prerogative,” Acta said. “I can’t tell Paul what to do.”

When asked whether management was upset with him revealing Zimmerman’s injury, Lo Duca responded, “Why? What’d I say on the air? Because he slept on it wrong? Come on,” before ending an interview with reporters when it was suggested that the general rule is one player shouldn’t talk about another player’s injuries. “Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill,” he said as he walked off.

Zimmerman will take today’s game off, though Acta said he would have skipped the second of back-to-back day games even without the injury.

He wasn’t concerned that opponents knew about the shoulder problem.

“It doesn’t matter. If they knew I was hurt, I wouldn’t play,” he said. “If they want to go ahead and test me and throw fastballs in there, that’s fine.”

Redding an All-Star?

A shaky sixth inning from starter Tim Redding didn’t stop Acta from touting his All-Star credentials yesterday. Redding is enjoying what might be his best major league season with a 3.59 ERA and a team-best 6-3 record, and Acta said he’s as good a candidate as any to represent the Nationals on July 15 in Yankee Stadium.

“He has pitched well enough to be considered,” Acta said. “I don’t see [why he couldn’t] unless he collapses the last month and a half or one of these guys just takes off and goes wild. I think he’s got the lead, performance-wise, on our club.”

For Redding, who has won only 10 games in the majors once and missed the entire 2006 season because of injuries, those words meant a lot.

“To have it mentioned one start before the beginning of June is flattering,” he said. “We all sit here and talk about guys that are doing well, but it’s not one of those things where I’ve got a popular name in the big leagues. But I’d also be lying if it wasn’t a goal I set in spring training.”