- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 10, 2011

NEW YORK — Ryan Zimmerman is out of the Nationals’ lineup today, having aggravated an abdominal strain diving head first into second base in the third inning Saturday night.

Zimmerman missed three days of game action during spring training dealing with the strain and, at the time, called it a nonissue. The third baseman will not play today, and coupled with the Nationals’ off day on Monday, the team will re-evaluate where he’s at on Tuesday when they open up a three-game series with the Phillies.

The Nationals’ concern has not grown over the strain, which was described during spring training as mild, but how he feels on Tuesday will dictate what the course of action is from there.

“It’s about the same concern level we’ve had since Opening Day and through spring training,” said Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo. “He’s got an ab strain, and he’s been playing with it. We’re going to give him two days here and see where he’s at afterwards.”

Rizzo indicated that the strain is something that Zimmerman has been playing through since the spring and it hasn’t affected him at the plate or in the field, but the slide, which wound up being unnecessary when the throw from the outfield went to third base, caused it to flare up a bit.

“If playing risks making it worse, then rest is the prudent course,” Rizzo said. “But so far, he’s fine doing most movements — swinging the bat, playing defense, running the bases. It’s just certain movements, certain angles of the throws, and when he slid right on it, that made it sore.”

Zimmerman was receiving treatment this morning and was not available to reporters before the game. His absence leaves a glaring hole in the Nationals’ lineup without his .357 average and .486 on-base percentage.

The ripple effect was already obvious on Sunday when Rick Ankiel was bumped up to second in the order with Jayson Werth, who usually bats second, sliding into Zimmerman’s third spot in the lineup.

As a result, third baseman Alex Cora hit eighth, giving the Nationals a bottom of the order of Ivan Rodriguez, Cora and pitcher Jason Marquis. Rodriguez and Cora are hitting a combined .122 this season while Marquis is 1-for-2 this season.

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