According to SI.com’s Will Carroll, Ryan Zimmerman will have his abdominal strain evaluated on Monday. He is eligible to return from the 15-day Disabled List on Wednesday but even if he is healthy, he may need a few games in the minor leagues to rehabilitate. Will Carroll however believes the Nationals are a bit more concerned about the injuries than they’ve let on.
“The Nats are getting more concerned about Zimmerman's return. He's been off of any baseball activity since going on the DL on April 12th, which means he'll likely need more of a rehab assignment than the team had expected. Actually, the team had hoped Zimmerman would be able to keep himself tuned up without needing a visit to the minors, but given the severity of the strain and the location, that was always a bit optimistic.”
The Nationals have weathered the storm with their star third baseman out of the lineup. The club has gone 7-6 since April 12, which is actually better than the 3-4 mark they had before the star was put on the disabled list. That’s not to say they’ve received the production they would have at the hot corner if Zimmerman had been in the lineup. Alex Cora and Jerry Hariston have certainly played at replacement level, but the reason the club has won has been timely hitting from other members of the lineup, and absolutely lights out pitching from the starting rotation.
One has to wonder, however, how much longer the team can keep it up without their best hitter and defender in the lineup. The team currently doesn’t have an every day batter hitting above .290 on the club, and has just one hitting above .250. Jayson Werth, who should be the team’s best hitter is hovering just above .200 after going 0 for 5 today, and the cub’s supposed shortstop of the future, Ian Desmond, was benched today because he can’t stop making errors. Yet somehow the club keeps winning, despite the massive hole that Zimmerman has left in his absence. Odds are they just can’t keep this up for that much longer.
Oblique injuries are curious things however. It very well could be the situation that Zimmerman could be ready to pay on Wednesday, but still not 100% healed. Is it worth it for them to bring back their star hitter in an attempt to keep the ship afloat with the inherent risk that he could reinjure himself and possibly even cause more damage? Probably not, and Mike Rizzo and Jim Riggleman are probably on the same page with that opinion. It will be interesting to see what the report is tomorrow after he gets evaluated, but if I were a betting man I’d say we wont see him for another week or two at the earliest.