Posted on April 28, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine
Things aren’t going to get any easier for the struggling Washington Nationals. On Sunday, the team placed veteran first baseman Ryan Zimmerman on the 10-day Injured List. The 34-year-old Zimmerman is dealing with plantar fasciitis, the latest in a string of injuries that have hindered him during the back half of his career. The Nationals are optimistic his stint on the IL will be short, but they don’t have a specific timeline for Zimmerman’s return.
Zimmerman initially hurt himself on Tuesday when he made a leaping catch against the Rockies. He was rested on Wednesday and didn’t play during Washington’s off day on Thursday and pronounced himself ready to play on Friday. But after playing on Friday and Saturday, Zimmerman felt increased discomfort in his foot. The Nationals sent him for an MRI that revealed the injury and forced the team to put him on the IL.
“We’re going to get him treated and keep him off his feet for 10 days,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said of Zimmerman’s injury. “It all depends on how quick he heals.”
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The Nationals may not want to plan on Zimmerman making a quick return. Plantar fasciitis is an issue that can linger for a long time if it doesn’t fully heal. On the other hand, it’s something that Zimmerman could possibly play through depending on how much pain he can tolerate. Zimmerman actually dealt with plantar fasciitis back in 2015. He spent seven weeks on the injured list that year in what was one of the worst offensive seasons of his career.
Speaking of poor offensive performances, Zimmerman has gotten off to a slow start in 2019. He’s hitting just .213 with three home runs and three doubles, posting an OPS of .676. Nevertheless, he remains an important part of Washington’s lineup, batting 5th most games. Zimmerman also heated up last May following a slow April, so there was every chance he would get his season on track at some point. The Nationals will now have to wait until he’s healthy to see if that’s the case again or not.
In Zimmerman’s absence, Matt Adams is likely to get a majority of the playing time at first base. Adams has had a strong start to the season, hitting .282 with an OPS of .839. However, he’s been used mostly as a platoon player and hasn’t faced many left-handed pitchers. The Nationals figure to lose Howie Kendrick in a platoon with Adams at first base. But Kendrick is currently filling in at third base while Anthony Rendon works through an injury problem. The Nationals are also without Trea Truner, who was lost to a broken finger the first week of the season.
With Zimmerman joining Turner on the IL and Rendon less than 100%, the Nationals are relying a lot more on their young players to carry them. To be fair, the likes of Victor Robles and Juan Soto have played well. But the Nationals are still under .500 and fourth place in a competitive if somewhat mediocre NL East. Putting a player like Zimmerman on the IL without a firm timeline for his return is not what Washington needs right now.