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Zimmerman still not cleared hit start hitting

May 20, 2014, 6:35 PM EDT

AP AP

The latest X-ray of Ryan Zimmerman’s right thumb showed the fracture that has sidelined him more than five weeks has not fully healed, preventing the Nationals third baseman from being able to start hitting and delaying his eventual return from the disabled list.

Zimmerman, out since fracturing the thumb on an April 12 pickoff play in Atlanta, will be allowed to start throwing after getting fitted for a splint that will protect the thumb when he grips the ball. But it may be another full week before another X-ray reveals a fully healed fracture, giving Zimmerman the green light to start hitting and ramping up his rehab program.

“You get a ball off the end of the bat, vibration can actually fracture it again because it’s not fully done,” manager Matt Williams said. “But at least he’s able to get that splint on and do some things.”

At the time of his injury, the Nationals pegged the total DL time for Zimmerman to be 4-to-6 weeks. He obviously won’t be back in the lineup within the next five days, so that timetable will prove too short. Williams, though, still referred to Zimmerman’s progress to date as “typical,” particularly given the type of fracture he suffered.

“Everybody’s different, and everybody heals differently,” the manager said. “It was an interesting fracture. It wasn’t just a crack straight across. It was kind of like a “Y”. There’s multiple things that have to heal there. Of course we’d like it to go faster. So would he. It is what it is. … But at least he’s taking the next step.”

The news on fellow injured veteran Adam LaRoche is better. LaRoche, out since May 9 with a strained right quad muscle, has been able to hit and take grounders with no discomfort in his leg.

LaRoche plans to start running the bases in the next day or two and is likely to go on a short minor-league rehab assignment this weekend. Assuming no setbacks, he expects to come off the DL when eligible on Sunday.

  1. Eugene in Oregon - May 20, 2014 at 6:43 PM

    Truly unfortunate. Need more calcium in his diet?

  2. npb99 - May 20, 2014 at 6:44 PM

    Weird how the rules are in baseball on the DL. It sounds like ALR is fine, but has to continue sitting out. Why shouldn’t ALR be able to come back sooner? The team has to guess how long he’s out, and if a player actually heals faster, tough luck, he still has to sit out the term of the DL. Or am I missing something?

    • manassasnatsfan - May 20, 2014 at 6:56 PM

      Your missing nothing.

      I want it 100% healed at this point, not 99%

      • npb99 - May 20, 2014 at 7:04 PM

        I agree, not pushing for premature activation of anybody. But I was wondering what happens under the baseball rules if 1) a given player is injured, 2) placed on, for example, 60-day DL, 3) turns out he is 100% healed at the 45-day mark (perhaps due to misdiagnosis of injury, very fast healing, etc.) and is ready to play. Can the team activate the player sooner, or it bound by the original 60-day designation?
        I suppose I can try to research it…

    • kirbs3256 - May 20, 2014 at 10:21 PM

      Its the 15 or 60 day DL. That’s the minimum time allowed. No matter what.

    • Section 222 - May 20, 2014 at 10:51 PM

      Good question. The rule is designed to prevent a team from putting a guy on the DL just to rest him a few days, replacing him with someone from the minors, then bringing him back whenever he feels up to it. If you could come back whenever you’re ready, rather that sitting out the whole 15 days, teams could just have a constant merry go round of fresh players. Particularly with pitchers this would really change the game — a starter could have a sore shoulder, go to the DL, be replaced by a reliever for the next four days, then brought back for his next start. If that were the case you might as well change to a 40 man team, rather than 25.

      On the other hand, the ability to backdate a DL move to the last day that the injured player actually appeared in a game doesn’t penalize a team for giving a player several days, or even a week, to see if he will heal quickly. So, for example, if they wanted to see how Gio felt after his bullpen session, before deciding whether to DL him, they could wait a few days, knowing that his 15 days will start the day after his last appearance, no matter when they actually move him to the DL.

      You can quibble with whether the appropriate time should 15 days or something else (and note that they now have a 7 day concussion DL to encourage teams to be careful with head injuries), but the basic concept makes sense I think.

      • npb99 - May 21, 2014 at 7:42 AM

        Thanks for that background, I hadn’t thought of that angle.

  3. manassasnatsfan - May 20, 2014 at 6:59 PM

    Thumb should take 4-5 weeks if place in splint right.

    I was 50 when I broke mine. It took 3 weeks, but to play soft ball it took 5 weeks.

    Not a professional athlete, so I can play with a little less healing. I am guessing he will be back June 1

  4. tcostant - May 21, 2014 at 8:26 AM

    I thought the LF thing was a joke at first, but the more I read I think it will happen. I keep reading how he needs to get his arm strength back; well this could cost an extra week or so. Since Harper is not back ’til July, you could play Zimm’s “bat” in LF and let him work on the arm strength on the side at the same time as LF and then move him to 3B when ready. If McLouth wasn’t such a train wreck, then this would even be considered…

  5. Section 222 - May 21, 2014 at 10:17 AM

    Will the eyesore headline to this post ever be fixed?

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