Posted on August 6, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
Less than two weeks after Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman returned from the DL after recovering from a strained rib cage, the 31-year old finds himself back on the DL. The Nationals placed Zimmerman on the 15-day DL on Saturday with a left wrist contusion retroactive to August 1. Zimmerman hasn’t played since last Sunday when he was hit on the wrist by a pitch from San Francisco Giants closer Santiago Casilla.
Zimmerman is understandably frustrated by his second trip to the DL in less than a month, especially considering his subpar offensive numbers this season. “It’s really frustrating,” Zimmerman said Saturday. “I think I’ve done a pretty good job of kind of trying to stay even-keeled with it. I was talking to [agent] Brodie [Van Wagenen] about it last night. This is the first time — well, not the first time — but I’m pretty upset about this.”
Washington manager Dusty Baker said he understands the frustration, but that he needs his first baseman to stay in the game mentally. “Zim’s a little down about it because he’s tired of being hurt and tired of being on the DL,” Baker said. “But I told him to play the game in his mind as if he were there.”
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“Frustration really doesn’t help the situation,” Baker added. “Actually, it can make it worse if you’re worrying. It impedes guys’ healing process by worrying, to me. I just told him to work on other parts of his body. Keep your legs strong and make your other arm strong. Come back in better shape than when you left.”
It will be interesting to see how Baker handles the lineup with Zimmerman back on the DL. Daniel Murphy was in the starting lineup at first base in Saturday’s game, with Trea Turner at second base. Turner has started to spend time in center field for the Nationals, but Baker could decide to use Turner and Murphy on the right side of the infield and give Ben Revere another opportunity to prove himself after a troubling season.
Another option in center field is Brian Goodwin, who was called up from triple-A to take Zimmerman’s spot on the roster. “Goodie earned it,” Baker said. “He’s been having a good year. He’s having his best year since he’s been with us. I urged him in Spring Training to hopefully have this kind of year. You can go from a prospect to a suspect in no time. I told him, ‘Man, you’re at a turning point in your baseball career.’ He turned it on and you’ve got to reward guys for doing what you ask them to do.”
There’s no indication that Zimmerman will have to miss an extended period of time, although the Nationals are yet to have a specific timeline for his return. Entering Saturday, the Nationals had a seven game lead atop the NL East, so there is no need to rush back an injured player. In the meantime, players like Revere and Goodwin may get more of a chance to play and show that they can contribute to a team that looks poised for a postseason appearance in 2016.