- The Washington Times - Monday, August 29, 2005

The Washington Nationals’ ailing pitching staff may prevent general manager Jim Bowden from calling up first-round draft pick Ryan Zimmerman before Thursday, when major league rosters expand to 40 players.

If Zimmerman is not in the majors by Wednesday, the Nationals would not be able to place the third baseman on their postseason roster.

“I would like to have [Zimmerman] up, … but I’ve got to do it in such a way that I’m not going to hurt our pitchers and get someone hurt because we don’t have enough pitching,” Bowden said. “I still hope to have him up and eligible for the postseason, but it may not be possible. We’ll see. If not, it will be on Thursday, no matter what.”

Zimmerman, whom the Nationals drafted out of Virginia with the fourth pick overall in June, was hitting .320 with nine home runs and 32 RBI in 222 at-bats for the Class AA Harrisburg Senators before last night.

Injuries to relievers Luis Ayala (shoulder) and Joey Eischen (thumb) and starters Ryan Drese (shoulder) and Tony Armas Jr. (shoulder) have thrown the pitching staff out of whack.

“The pitching blew up,” Bowden said. “Ayala is not available, Eischen is not available, Armas hasn’t been available and we’re trying to survive. Our whole bullpen is completely spent.”

Eischen’s injury was the most bizarre. Following Friday’s game, he slammed a window on his left thumb at his apartment, cutting the tip of the thumb on his pitching hand. Every time Eischen tried to throw this weekend, the thumb began to bleed, and he was unavailable for the last two games.

“The windows in my apartment are like 6-foot-by-14-foot. They’re gigantic,” Eischen said. “I was just pushing, and you have to put a lot of weight forward, and when I was pushing my thumb went underneath the edge of the window, and I just smashed down on it.”

Surgery for Drese?

Bowden said Drese has a “slap tear” in his right shoulder and may undergo season-ending surgery.

Drese, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with what was diagnosed as tendinitis in his right shoulder, is traveling to California today to see orthopedic surgeon Lewis Yocum.

“We all know there is a reason why he goes from 14 wins to what he did this year. He had a slap tear,” Bowden said. “There’s a possibility that he gets operated on, I think.”

Drese is 3-6 with a 4.98 ERA in 11 starts this season for the Nationals since being claimed off waivers from the Texas Rangers on June 10.

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