- The Washington Times - Monday, April 11, 2011

Ryan Zimmerman’s abdominal strain is bad enough that the All-Star third baseman is headed to the 15-day disabled list, according to a club source.

The Nationals will be making a move to bring up a position player sometime before Tuesday night’s 7:05 p.m. game against the Philadelphia Phillies but, at this point, they have not made a final decision as to who that player will be, though it may not be someone who is specifically an infielder.

The move was first reported by MLB.com.

The Nationals have just one infielder currently on their 40-man roster in first baseman Chris Marrero, but both Jerry Hairston Jr. and Alex Cora can play third base so the Nationals do already have options on their 25-man roster. The player they call up could be just to be sure they are not left shorthanded on their bench.

Outfielder Roger Bernadina would be considered an option but he has not been playing recently, away from Triple-A Syracuse due to a family issue, so it is not likely the Nationals call him up in this particular case. Brian Bixler is another possible choice. Bixler performed very well in major league spring training and is hitting .319 in four games with Syracuse this season (6-for-19) with a .381 on-base percentage and .481 slugging percentage.

Marrero could also be an option. Though defensively he’d only serve to give first baseman Adam LaRoche, who is also ailing, a few days off, he could be valuable as a pinch hitter. In four games he’s 2-for-16 (.125) with one double, three RBIs and three walks.

Zimmerman, who dealt with the ab strain at the start of spring training but played each of the Nationals’ first eight games without incident, aggravated the injury Saturday night diving head first into second base in the third inning of the Nationals’ loss to the Mets.

He said Sunday afternoon that he wasn’t sure if a DL stint would be necessary but that the pain was bad enough for him not to have played in Sunday’s game and they would evaluate where he was at when the team returned to Washington. Obviously Zimmerman did not improve enough overnight for the Nationals to remain shorthanded while he healed.

• Amanda Comak can be reached at acomak@washingtontimes.com.

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