Ryan Zimmerman’s MRI results are in, and the news is not necessarily good. Zimmerman has a small labral tear in his left shoulder, the result of an awkward headfirst slide into second base two weeks ago in Baltimore. Nats team orthopedist Ben Shaffer is recommending rest and anti-inflammatory medication. The club is consulting with three other well-known orthopedists (James Andrews in Birmingham, Tim Kremchek in Cincinnati and Robert Cofield at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota) before determining a final plan of action.
What does this mean in realistic terms? At the very least, it would appear Zimmerman needs to go on the DL. Shaffer is recommending rest, and the Nats can’t afford to have their third baseman resting any longer while clogging up a roster spot. Surgery doesn’t seem to be in the mix … yet, though I suppose it’s possible any of those other doctors could recommend that (or possibly say Zimmerman is clear to play with the tear).
The good part is that it’s not in his throwing shoulder, so he’s fine in the field. The bad part is that it affects his swing, and if you watched him taking BP the other day in Arizona, you’d know he wasn’t swinging with full force. My uninformed guess is that even if Zimmerman is able to play through the season with this injury, he’ll have minor surgery during the offseason to repair this injury.
Obviously, there are still some more decisions to come. We’ll keep you posted as we find out more.
In other news, Nick Johnson also was evaluated today by Shaffer. Because of persisting tenderness of the tendon sheath in his right wrist (an injury that occurred two weeks ago), Johnson was re-casted for an additional two weeks. He’ll be re-evaluated on June 16, at which time rehabilitation options will be determined. In other words, it’s still going to be a while before he’s back healthy.
— Mark Zuckerman