- Associated Press - Sunday, April 13, 2014

ATLANTA (AP) - The Washington Nationals have lost their leadoff hitter for a week and a key bat in the middle of their lineup for much longer.

Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman was lost for four to six weeks with a fractured right thumb in the Nationals‘ 6-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Saturday night.

Zimmerman’s injury came after leadoff hitter and centerfielder Denard Span was placed on the seven-day disabled list with a concussion before the game.

“Nobody is going to feel sorry for us,” said Washington manager Matt Williams. “You’ve gotta play.”

Zimmerman had a double and a walk before he was hurt diving back to the bag when he was picked off second base in the fifth.

“I think he did it on the bag,” Williams said. “It’s unfortunate, but we’ve got to step forward from here.”

Zimmerman appeared to be simply upset about being picked off before he looked at his thumb, looked back at the dugout, and then slowly rose to his feet and left the field.

Following Zimmerman’s exit, Anthony Rendon moved from second base to third and Danny Espinosa entered the game at second base.

“It’s not our first choice, certainly, but the fact they can play multiple positions is good in times like this,” Williams said.

“You certainly never want to miss somebody like Zimmerman for that amount of time. … All we can do is just play.”

Rendon led off the game with his second homer.

Span had headaches following a collision on the basepath with Uggla on Friday night.

Right fielder Jayson Werth, who left Friday night’s game with cramping in his groin, did not start. He had a pinch-hit infield single in the eighth following Sandy Leon’s run-scoring single. Freeman’s throwing error on Werth’s hit left runners at first and third, but Rendon’s fly to center ended the inning.

Washington’s makeshift outfield included Bryce Harper in center, Kevin Frandsen in left and Nate McLouth in right.

Freddie Freeman had three hits, including a homer, and B.J. Upton had two hits, including his first homer, for Atlanta. Dan Uggla drove in two runs with two hits.

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