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Nats prepare for loss of Zimmerman to hamstring strain

Jul 23, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT

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They managed to keep their healthy lineup intact for 17 games before injury once again befell the Nationals last night.

Ryan Zimmerman strained his right hamstring legging out a grounder in the top of the sixth at Coors Field, hustle that allowed a run to score and ultimately helped the Nationals secure a 7-4 victory over the Rockies that extended their lead in the NL East to 2 games over Atlanta.

The full extent of Zimmerman’s injury won’t be known until he gets an MRI this morning in Denver, but you needed only watch the replay to recognize this isn’t going to be a day-to-day thing. Zimmerman clutched upper right leg about three steps shy of first base, then tripped and fell to the ground. He immediately called for a trainer, then had to be helped off the field, eventually putting some weight on the leg but limping noticeably as he departed.

Could a stint on the disabled list be avoided? Perhaps, but the odds don’t look great. At minimum, Zimmerman is going to need 15 days to heal, perhaps more. At which point the Nationals once again will have to make do with something less than the lineup they expected to field all season.

Zimmerman, of course, already spent seven weeks on the DL after fracturing his right thumb in mid-April. And fellow regulars Bryce Harper, Adam LaRoche, Wilson Ramos and Denard Span all spent time of their own on the DL during the season’s first half.

They finally all came together on June 30, though, and since then the Nationals lineup had been the NL’s most-productive group. That was in no small part due to Zimmerman, who since that date was hitting .387 with a 1.050 OPS.

Now, the Nationals must prepare to move on without their veteran third baseman and No. 5 hitter. They’ve done this before, and they’re about as well-positioned as a team could be, able to slide Anthony Rendon over to third base and re-insert Danny Espinosa into the lineup at second base.

But make no mistake: The Nationals can’t just replace Zimmerman, whose all-around contributions to his team are real.

When he has played this season, the Nationals are 34-19. That’s a .642 winning percentage that over a full year would equate to 104 victories. When he hasn’t played, they’re 21-24, a .467 winning percentage that equates to a 76-victory season.

Now, there are other factors in that equation. Zimmerman’s time in the lineup has coincided with generally good health across the board for the Nationals. But to think this team can continue to play at this impressive pace — they’ve won 12 of their last 17 to attain the NL’s best record — without one of its key stars would be foolish.

Defensively, the Nationals will be better. Offensively, they will take a huge hit.

Such has been the story for this team this season, though. The Nationals lasted all of seven innings on Opening Day before losing their first starter, and they didn’t get them all back again until June 30.

These last 17 games have been something to watch. We finally got to see the full potential of this ballclub, and what we saw was mighty impressive.

Now, the Nationals must prepare to move forward at something less than 100 percent. How long they’ll have to endure like this depends on the results of the latest MRI being administered to one of their most-important players.

147 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. natsfan1a - Jul 23, 2014 at 6:18 AM

    [Crud.]

    • Hiram Hover - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:28 AM

      Yes – cruddy for Ryan and team.

      The less severe it is, the less cruddy. Fingers crossed….

      • natsfan1a - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:06 AM

        Well, yes, of course, cruddy for both. That goes without saying, or so I thought.

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:20 AM

        Yup – that’s what I thought you were saying. Crud all around.

      • natsfan1a - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:22 AM

        Thanks, HH. Hoping for some good news, or at least some not-so-bad news, from Zimm’s MRI.

  2. lovedanats - Jul 23, 2014 at 6:25 AM

    This is dis-heartening. Get better, Ryan. The team needs you in the line up.

  3. Eric - Jul 23, 2014 at 6:39 AM

    Get well soon, Zim!

  4. Sam - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:03 AM

    To think they can play .667 ball isn’t foolish – I’m sure they think they can. To expect it might be foolish.

    • laddieblahblah - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:59 AM

      They are 28 – 15 in their last 43 games. If they win their next two, they will have played .667 ball over a time frame exceeding 1/4 of a full season.

      “To expect it might be foolish.”

      Really?

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:25 AM

        In Mark’s original phrasing, the qualifier–“without one of their key stars”–was the part that was supposed to make the idea “foolish.”

  5. chaz11963 - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:32 AM

    I don’t think the loss of Zim will be as bad as it was before. Bryce, Wilson, Desi are now all heating up. They can pick up the slack.

  6. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:39 AM

    This is unbelievable.

    • bowdenball - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:37 AM

      Really? I think it’s quite believable.

      We have several injury-prone guys in the middle of the lineup. Werth, Zimmerman, Ramos and Harper have all had trouble staying healthy. It was more amazing that all four were healthy at the same time.

      It was actually quite incredible that we were 100% healthy as long as we were. Look at the teams we’re playing over the next week by comparison. The Rockies are without Tulo and several other guys. The Red will be without Joey Votto. The Marlins haven’t had Jose Fernandez for months. This is a far less significant loss than those.

      It was right to complain about the Nats’ rotten injury look in the first half, but even with this injury they’re much healthier right now than the average MLB team. They should be just fine.

      • masterfishkeeper - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:00 AM

        +1

  7. nats128 - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:55 AM

    Get well soon RZ. Better the hamstring over what looked like a possible shoulder injury on Monday. Nats cant catch a break.

  8. alexva6 - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:00 AM

    I hope Steven Souza Jr. will be on the next plane to Denver.

    nobody can replace what Zimm brings to the team but I think it’s the right time rather than another round of Tyler Moore.

    • chaz11963 - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:04 AM

      Souza is an OFer. Sitting Harper, Span, or JW isn’t the answer.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:06 AM

        +1 He would just be the bench bat as Espi takes over at 2nd and Rendon at 3rd

      • Joe Seamhead - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:13 AM

        I agree, chaz. Neither is sitting Adam LaRoche the answer. Rarely does a player exit a slump while sitting on the bench. Last month it was Werth that many wanted to sit, the month before it was Desmond, other times it was Span. These guys just had 4 days off and they get another one tomorrow. They are veteran ballplayers accustomed to playing virtually everyday. Sure, when you have long periods of no off days, a rest for almost anybody is in order.This isn’t one of those times.

        “You swing hard enough times, you’re bound to run into something,” LaRoche said. “I’ve been playing long enough to know it takes one swing to get things turned around.”

        True dat.

        If ALR is healthy, he plays.

    • karlkolchak - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:07 AM

      More likely it will be Walters called up if Zim heads tothe DL. I’d love to see them give Walters a couple of weeks of starts at 2B to see what he could do with regular reps against big league pitching. Danny’s still there for late inning defense.

    • zmunchkin - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:11 AM

      I suspect Walters is the more likely candidate. Frandsen can be ALRs backup if needed, and then Walters can play a middle infield position. Don’t want to be in a position where one guy going down means you have no other backups on the bench for that position.

      • masterfishkeeper - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:15 AM

        My guess is that the Nats will call up Walters and MW will give Danny a few games to see if his latest new approach from the left side of the plate is any better. If it isn’t, you could see Walters playing second, at least against right handed starters. Walters’s splits at Syracuse aren’t all that big. He’s got a higher average from the right side, but more power from the left.

        Real question is whether Walters can play major league quaility defense at second.

    • Hiram Hover - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:27 AM

      In the dead tree edition, Kilgore said Walters was on his way to Denver.

  9. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:05 AM

    “Ghost of Steve M. – Jul 22, 2014 at 11:13 AM
    Mick, I said it the 1st week of July, ALR hurt his back and it’s a power zap. I think he looks better after the All Star rest and now is getting his timing back. Give it another week.”

    For those who have been crowing about Rendon and ALR and ALR taking time off, while the results haven’t been great in the 4 games after the All Star break it’s tough calling that a slump with such a small sample size.

    Rendon for instance got robbed twice on Sunday and like I’ve been saying ALR looks like a guy who needed to get his timing back. His swing looked good.

    Both players were instrumental in this win.

    • laddieblahblah - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:20 AM

      Yup. Rendon had been squaring it up, pinning outfielders against the RF and CF walls, with nothing to show, while he was in his “slump.”

      ALR has been late on the FB, and the one he hit out last night was a breaking ball over the middle. I’ll feel better about him when he starts catching up to the FB, again. I didn’t know ALR had tweaked his back. That certainly could explain recent results.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:26 AM

        He hurt his upper back in the Colorado series in DC and tried to play through it.

        You saw the results the last week before the Allstar break, not good. He probably did no baseball activities over the break hence his timing got off.

        Again, he just had 4 days off and looked loose and fine physically to me, just timing.

        I just watch things differently then those that miss the process and only focus on results.

    • Hiram Hover - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:30 AM

      Agree about Rendon in particular. But have there been that many people calling for benching–err, “resting”–him? Seems to me we’ve heard that a lot more about ALR, who’s been scuffling for a lot longer.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:40 AM

        Yes. It’s the constant call that Rendon is in a slump. I’ve said over and over it’s unlucky BABIP.

  10. unkyd59 - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:08 AM

    Heal fast, Ryan. And…..just meet the ball, Danny… Good things will happen….

  11. natsbro - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:12 AM

    All I can say right now is sh**!

  12. laddieblahblah - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:14 AM

    I haven’t seen anyone refer to Rendon as “injury prone” in quite some time. The “injury prone” guy on this team is Ryan Zimmerman.

    When he is right and has his timing down, he is still their best hitter. He will be missed as long as that bat is out of the lineup, especially when his likely replacement in the lineup will be Espinosa, on most days, as the “injury prone” Rendon will probably move back to 3rd, once again, to cover for Ryan’s latest stint on the DL.

    “Better the hamstring over what looked like a possible shoulder injury on Monday.”

    That was almost a disaster. Ramos’ bat was still sitting in the middle of the batter’s box when Zim had to leap over it while making his slide, which was more like a dive. Usually the ump removes the bat from the vicinity of a play at home plate to protect the players from being injured, but not that time. I wonder if he didn’t do something to that hammy because of that play at the plate the day before. After that play, he limped back to the dugout, as I recall.

    “I don’t think the loss of Zim will be as bad as it was before. Bryce, Wilson, Desi are now all heating up. They can pick up the slack.”

    A lot of it, yes, but not all of it. Zim’s offense is under-rated, I believe, mainly because he is out of the lineup so much of the time.

    I am very sorry to see him hurt, yet again. With him, the Nats have the best offense in baseball. Without him, Espinosa is probably back in the lineup. That is quite a drop off, offensively.

    Get well Zim.

    • Soul Possession, Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:44 AM

      Ramos’ bat was still sitting in the middle of the batter’s box when Zim had to leap over it while making his slide, which was more like a dive. Usually the ump removes the bat from the vicinity of a play at home plate to protect the players from being injured, but not that time. I wonder if he didn’t do something to that hammy because of that play at the plate the day before. After that play, he limped back to the dugout, as I recall.

      I was wondering the same thing, whether the play at the plate had anything to do with this.

      The umps will sometimes kick the bat aside, but the on-deck hitter, IF he gets a chance, sometimes does, too. Not Danny’s fault that Zim crashed into him, but it can’t have helped. I had the impression at the time that it was hitting Espinosa that hurt.

      • Section 222 - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:16 AM

        Sorry, but it was totally Danny’s fault. The on deck hitter needs to clear the bat, give a clear signal and get.out.of.the.way. He shouldn’t be anywhere near impeding the runner coming in. Danny was too close the plate and was holding his own bat when Zim came in, which could have caused another injury on its own. We were lucky they didn’t both get hurt there.

        Hard to say that that play had an impact on the hammy though. It seemed Zim mainly had the wind knocked out of him.

      • natsfan1a - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:25 AM

        After speed-watching last night’s game, it certainly did not look good when Zimm went down.

        I wondered about the prior play at the plate as well.

      • laddieblahblah - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:47 AM

        I don’t recall ever seeing a bat in such a dangerous location in a play at the plate, ever. Zim was running full tilt to beat the throw and if he dives head first onto that bat you are looking at some serious damage to the rib cage, shoulder, clavicle – whatever – possibly serious enough to end his season. Sliding feet first and landing on that thing with your back might even be worse.

        That was an athletic dive to avoid contact with the bat and still touch the plate before tumbling over into Espinosa. Zim stayed in the game, so I guess he was alright. Then he tweaks his hamstring just running out a play at 1b. Go figure.

    • tcostant - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:57 AM

      Good point – all bets are off if Rendon gets hurt.

  13. natszee - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:15 AM

    Wishing Zim all the best for a speedy recovery. Way too much tough luck being cast his way. I think he will be missed deeply but not just because of his bat but because of his leadership and poise. Ryan, you are one class act. Heal quickly and strong!

    • natsfan1a - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:26 AM

      +1. No, make it +11.

  14. rabbit433 - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:16 AM

    Well, we may have lost a hit or two during the week, but the defense improved while Zim is healing. Ok everyone, run to your stats. I just want to know….what can you do for me this at-bat. I like Zim but was never a big fan of his.

    • natszee - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:06 AM

      Giving up runs has not been the challenge for us this year. Let’s all hope Danny found his April bat. If he did, this team will be dominate as he is outstanding in the balance of his game. If not, M&M (Mike & Matt) need find a solution and implement.

      Curious, do you bat Danny 7th (.269 BA) or 8th (.184 BA)? These numbers suggest 7th but then who bats 8th? I think that if Lobaton is playing, 7th for sure but if Ramos is catching, now what?

  15. Joe Seamhead - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:19 AM

    Between Werth, Ramos, and now Zimmerman, this team sure seems to get a lot of hamstring issues. It seems like every time they start plundering and leaving nothing but carnage behind, somebody goes and slips on a banana peel. Damn!

  16. philipd763 - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:26 AM

    Sadly, Zim seems to be going down the same road as Nick Johnson.

    • karlkolchak - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:54 AM

      Oh, I wouldn’t go THAT far. Nick essentially had exactly one fully healthy season, and that was the year he crashed into Austin Kearns in late September from which he never really recovered. Nick was also notoriously slow to heal, while Ryan always seems to bounce back in about the amount of time expected for whatever injury he has.

  17. Joe Seamhead - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:40 AM

    I sure hope Ryan’s injury isn’t going to keep him out too long, but the way he buckled looked really bad.
    In his absence, I wouldn’t mind Espinosa utilizing the bunt from the left side to get on base.

    Off topic, but I got a kick out of seeing local guy LJ Hoes,[ from St. John's High School], get a game winning homer off of our old buddy Felix Abad in the 9th to lead the Astros over the A’s.

  18. coollikelivo - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:49 AM

    This may be, and probably should be, Danny’s last chance. To maximize the chances he becomes a reliable hitter he must abandon the silly stubborn fantasy that he is a switch hitter. His left handed (mis)adventures have just about killed his career. Whereas he probably took up the S/H idea early on to make him more attractive for a big league roster…. It. Is. Not. Working. If he goes R/H full time he gets twice as much BP from one side, locks in his timing and power and has a chance to become the stud many predicted he could become several years ago, including yours truly, who invested in a game-worn, original number 18, Danny jersey.

    Go Get ‘Em Danny!!!

    • Hiram Hover - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:54 AM

      This may be, and probably should be, Danny’s last chance.

      I think you have it backwards. This is exactly why Danny gets so many chances–the Nats are always one injury away from needing him.

      • coollikelivo - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:04 AM

        I agree, but my point is we need a better backup option at 2B.

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:12 AM

        Would be great, yes. He is also the backup to Ian at SS, so have to add that to the list.

      • coollikelivo - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:16 AM

        Good point re SS Hiram.

    • Joe Seamhead - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:58 AM

      I thought that Danny grew up hitting left handed and that he added the right side hitting later.

      • coollikelivo - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:02 AM

        Well he throws righty so assumed he started batting RH too. Either way, LH is not working.

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:11 AM

        From Kilgore, a few years ago – Danny said he was switch hitting since age 5:

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/post/danny-espinosa-and-the-challenge-of-switch-hitting/2012/06/09/gJQAx1NFQV_blog.html

      • coollikelivo - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:21 AM

        Per Kilgore:

        “The notion of Espinosa hitting from the right side in every at-bat is a nonstarter. Espinosa has been a switch hitter since he was 5 years old, and he cannot pick up the ball from a right-handed pitcher while batting right-handed. The view is too foreign for him to even approach being a good hitter against major league pitching.”

        This sounds like a cop-out that some dedicated practice could fix. And even so, could he be worse than his current avg batting LH?? Hard to imagine. And the other quote that He has “always” hit better LH certainly has not been true for the past 3 years.

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:43 AM

        If he and the coaches thought it was really so easy to re-train him to hit only from the right side, it’s hard to believe they wouldn’t have tried it already.

        He and the team have too much to gain, and they’ve had a couple of years to do it, including most of last year in the minors and a couple of off-seasons now.

      • coollikelivo - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:08 AM

        HH:
        He and the team have too much to gain, and they’ve had a couple of years to do it, including most of last year in the minors and a couple of off-seasons now.

        To my point, how long do we wait for the same old things to actually work. Try something new, or try someone new….

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:30 PM

        I don’t think anyone likes Espi’s offense–not you, not me, not Rizzo.

        But again: if trading for/picking up a better back up 2B/SS were that easy, I have to think he would have already done it.

  19. Theophilus T.S. - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:52 AM

    This is where the lack of bona fide ML infield prospects becomes a potentially serious weakness. Assuming — a big assumption — Walters can play/hit credibly, what if something happens to any of Espinosa/Desmond/Rendon? The team’s IF depth goes from “worn thin” to “peeled raw.” It gives more credence to the WaPo report the Nats are looking for an IF prospect before the trade deadline. They need something more than Cutter Dykstra/Emmanuel Burris at the minor league level.

    • karlkolchak - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:05 AM

      Actually, what they are really looking for is a SS prospect in case Desmond does bolt after next year. They got quite a few guys who could credibly play 2B–Cutter Dykstra has really come on this year and was an Eastern League all star, Jeff Kobernus was originally a second baseman, and they also have prospect list member Tony Renda playing well at Potomac, even if he has no power. The problem is, none of those guys are shortstops and Walters is way too error prone to play that position at the MLB level as more than just a temporary fill in.

  20. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:55 AM

    Do you move Desi to RZims spot and leave Harp at 6th and Ramos 7th and Espi 8th?

    • Joe Seamhead - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:01 AM

      I don’t have the answers, but I really don’t care for : Espinosa, pitcher, Span all in a row.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:02 AM

        No easy solution especially with Lobaton inserted.

      • bowdenball - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:12 AM

        Span’s OBP is up to .328. He’s hitting .323/.397/.385 in July. He’s been a slightly above-average hitter this season both by conventional measure and according to advance stats- his wRC+ is 101, just above the calibrated league average. And obviously he’s elite once he gets on base. If you think he’s part of a problem offensively, maybe your standards are just too high?

    • masterfishkeeper - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:05 AM

      Probably. You certainly don’t want LaRoche and Harper back to back, so the only other obvious move would be to put Ramos fifth. He was the opening day cleanup hitter, after all.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:13 AM

        For today, I’m sure Lobaton is starting.

      • bowdenball - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:13 AM

        What about Harper 3rd, Werth cleanup and LaRoche in the 5 spot?

      • jd - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:53 AM

        What Bowdenball said.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:25 AM

        I think during RHPs that makes good sense.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:41 AM

        bowdenball, you know that I am, and have been a huge supporter of Denard Span. I said that I don’t like that threesome in a row in a batting order.I also said that I didn’t have the answers.
        My standards aren’t too high in regards to Span, but your dig was a little too low.

      • bowdenball - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:57 AM

        I didn’t think it was a dig, seamhead. I was more intending it as one part disagreement, one part reassurance.

        I think every team in the NL is going to have production concerns at the bottom of the order and back around to the top on days where the backup catcher plays. I feel your pain on those days when those innings come around, but when you take a step back I don’t think we’re behind anyone else in the league there.

  21. stoatva - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:30 AM

    So Strasburg’s going with the Goon Squad behind him this afternoon? You know he’s gotta be thrilled about that.

  22. unkyd59 - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:40 AM

    I hate to think like this, but Ryan accepted moving to LF, and then being back at third, as the best thing for the team…. I wonder if he’d accept a trade to a good AL team, in the offseason, as best for the team, as well as for his career… I’m not suggesting it, and I’d prolly weep, if it came to pass, but if there I sn’t much hope for that shoulder, what else is there? I could see him having a few years as a .320/40 HR guy, if he was just able to focus on offense… A sad conjecture… REALLY like him….

    • bowdenball - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:45 AM

      It wouldn’t be good for the team to trade Zimm to the AL. Given his contract, age and injury history the return would likely be peanuts.

      If there isn’t much hope for the shoulder, what else is there? First base, of course. You can probably count the number of times a first basemen has to make a tough throw over the course of a season on your fingers. And the Nats have a clear need there, with LaRoche about to become a 35 year old free agent and no real 1B talent in the farm system.

      • jd - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:58 AM

        Bowdenball,

        I would be shocked if Zim doesn’t go into sprint training as the 1st baseman for 2015. The alternatives are just too messy. I don’t know if Espinosa is the 2nd baseman next year or if this is a position we will fill from the outside. I am not convinced that Walters is a major league player. I am intrigued by Souza though and I think Tyler Morre would make an adequate major leaguer though not likely with the Nats.

      • bowdenball - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:21 AM

        Me too, JD. It just makes too much sense to move him to first.

      • Section 222 - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:50 AM

        +1 to both bb and jd. Zim will almost certainly be our starting 1B next season. For better or for worse, ALR will be “old friend” ALR. I think it’s more of a tossup whether Span will be back. And will the team have the guts to tell Werth he has to move to LF. He’s becoming more and more of a liability in right.

    • Hiram Hover - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:47 AM

      This injury doesn’t really make those calculations more attractive–if anything, it’s a reminder to AL teams that as a DH he’d still have to run the bases, and both of his injuries this season have come on the basepaths.

    • jd - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:59 AM

      sprint training? – may prevent hamstring injuries but I really meant spring training.

      • texnat1 - Jul 23, 2014 at 1:39 PM

        Yes, and among other things, the no-trade clause makes it highly unlikely. But its possible that he would go for it. He’s a proud player and if he felt that he could maximize his value as a full time DH in the American League playing for a contender, he might well be open to it. I think its pretty clear he doesn’t want to be a hindrance on any team and that he doesn’t want to play positions where his arm is a serious detriment.

    • texnat1 - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:55 AM

      I don’t agree that it would be bad for the team to trade Ryan Z. I think it highly unlikely to happen, but if it did it would be mutually beneficial. I don’t care what the return is, because the only return you need is to get out of that contract.

      • therealjohnc - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:19 AM

        The contract that includes a full no trade clause …

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:25 PM

        These exchanges remind me of the Simpsons episode where Bart runs for student government.

        In one of his campaign speeches, he says (in effect), “My opponent says there are no easy answers. I say he’s not looking hard enough!”

  23. natsbro - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:53 AM

    Ha. We are not trading Ryan Zimmerman.

  24. Theophilus T.S. - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:12 AM

    How can Z’man be expected to accept a trade “for the good of the team” — for the good team that’s trying to get rid of him? Ludicrous. As is the idea of trading him under any pretense when he’s damaged goods.

    • unkyd59 - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:56 AM

      Theo “as well as for his own career”. It may be that his effective longevity may be much greater if he doesn’t have to throw, at all. If there’s nothing that can be done about his degenerative shoulder condition, he might actually want to extend his career by DHing. Like I said, .300+ with power is nothing to sneeze at, and if he can heal the hammy, and have a really productive run, to finish the season out, he’ll be worth as much as he’ll ever be…. Sorry, I don’t think it’s ludicrous at all…. Watch him throw… Looks painful, to me

      • Theophilus T.S. - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:05 PM

        Were he to agree, which I think is doubtful, it would have nothing to do with doing the “best” thing for the Nationals.

      • unkyd59 - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:38 PM

        If he can’t throw comfortably, he may offer to be traded…. Would you want to spend the last 6 (?) years of your career as a defensive liability? Even at 1B you have to throw the ball…. None of us want to think about it, but it’s not crazy….

  25. Smyrcok - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:18 AM

    I hope I’m allowed to comment even with a “new handle”, but Harper’s play could decide how big of a deal this is. Obviously we don’t know how long Zim will be out for, but it’s going to be at least 15 days most likely. If it’s ONLY 15 days and Harper is heating up, it won’t be the end of the world. If we miss Zim for extended time, the drop off to Espinosa will take its toll. It will be especially noticeable on days where Ramos sits and Lobaton starts. Throw in McLouth in right field if Werth needs a day and you’ve got something approaching an anemic offense.

    The best news is that while Ryan was dominating, other guys weren’t. LaRoche and Rendon were in a couple of mini cold streaks. The production can be made up.

    • Sonny G 10 - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:17 PM

      Oh, what was your old handle?

  26. David Proctor - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:24 AM

    The optimist in me says that we were getting nothing from Harper when Zim was around. If Harper is hot, we’re really not losing all that much. He can’t replace Zim, especially in RBI situations, but the loss won’t be crippling by any stretch. Let’s be glad we at least lost Zim at a time just about everyone else is swinging it well.

    • Section 222 - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:42 AM

      Agreed. Although as we discussed recently, one thing we may have been getting from Harper is protection for Zim. Zim’s numbers from June 30 through last night were truly through the roof.

      Maybe Harper steps up now that the other Face is out. Let’s hope so.

  27. Doc - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:25 AM

    I have no idea what is the daily work out program for this team. But hamstrings can be prevented/controlled with daily stretching exercises.

    Some do calisthenics; others find resistance machines effective. I did the latter, and do it daily.

    From a previous quote from Lobaton, Ramos started doing stretching exercises daily after his last hamstring injury.

    • ArVAFan - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:38 AM

      Ramos was even doing hamstring stretches in the on-deck circle in Chicago (I was sitting right next to the circle, so I noticed). Now I’m going to be watching him more carefully to see if he’s keeping it up.

      • Doc - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:44 AM

        Thanks for the update, ArVAFan.

        There are way too many hamstring injuries in baseball.

        It’s the nature of the sport of baseball to be at risk for them, unlike football, basketball, soccer. But still conditioning has to come into play.

        Man you had good seats there at Wrigley!!

    • rayvil01 - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:39 AM

      Any sport involving sprinting is going to have its share of hammy pulls. Especially if you get dehydrated at all. Hot day at altitude latter innings…lot of ingredients at play. Zim doesn’t have a big history of ham issues.

      Happens. I don’t buy that they are completely avoidable like it’s a failing of the athlete. If it was foolproof avoidable then uou would not see them. The teams have too much investment to tolerate something they could completely avoid.

      • Doc - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:47 AM

        Nothing is completely avoidable in life–including athletic hamstring injuries.

        Managing them is what I was referencing.

  28. Section 222 - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:26 AM

    Espi already had his last chance. He’s started 62 games this year and in 204 PAs in those games his slash is .199/.265/.313/.578. He doesn’t get better playing every day, he gets worse. Sure, even a below Mendoza hitter has a few good days, but that doesn’t mean he’s turned it around. He hasn’t, and I’m sorry to say this, he won’t.

    The question is, what do the Nats do about it. As the reports yesterday illustrate, we don’t have any depth in the middle infield. It seems the team doesn’t trust Zach Walters’ defense. Frandsen is not much of an option either, offensively or defensively. So we’ll muddle through with Danny until Zim returns. But don’t get your hopes up that things will be any different now than they were from April 13-June 27. That’s not a small sample size.

    • David Proctor - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:41 AM

      If Ryan will miss any sizable period of time, what do you think about finding a LH platoon partner for Espi?

      • Section 222 - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:46 AM

        I know I seem extreme on this, but I’m all for anything that reduces the number of days that Espi starts. I was done with him after last season and he’s done nothing this year to change my mind. His defense is great (though not flawless as we saw last night), but he’s just too big of a liability on offense to play every day. Maybe give Walters a shot there? I don’t have super high hopes for him, but he can’t be worse at the plate.

        By the way, I was fine with starting Espi the other night, and I’d have done it a few more times against lefties over the last several weeks. I’m fine with giving other players (Frandsen, Hairston, McLouth) some ABs too. It can only help their effectiveness off the bench. But none of them are every day players, and neither is Espi.

    • Smyrcok - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:43 AM

      Good god, things WILL be different than April through June. Remember, we weren’t just missing Zimmerman during that time. Ramos and Harper missed a lot of time if you recall.

      • Section 222 - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:33 AM

        I assume you know that I meant there’s no reason to believe that things will be different with Espi’s hitting. Do you disagree with that? I certainly hope that the team will fare better with Harper and Ramos in the lineup. I also hope neither of them, or anyone else, goes down with an injury.

  29. stoatva - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:08 AM

    With the #dcnflfranchise having reported to training camp, we now return to your regularly scheduled nonstop football gabfest on DC sports media. *sigh*

    • coollikelivo - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:17 AM

      Off topic, but I got a notice that my payments for NEXT Year start in August. I know I probably read that in the fine print when I renewed, but it sure seems like something Dan Snyder would do…. Grrrrr.

      • Section 222 - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:40 AM

        Like me, you’re probably on the “Grand Slam” payment plan, which has 8 monthly payments. Starting in August makes the last one due March 1. Maybe they could start it one month later, but it’s not that unreasonable.

        The real test of Snyderness will come when they tell those of us who committed in 2013 for three years what our tickets will cost for 2016.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:17 AM

      I read that the entire front page of the Washington Post is dedicated to football with no mention of the 1st place Nats. Top 1/2 of 1st page on Gruden and bottom half on Johnny Manziel. Can someone report if that is accurate?

      If that’s the case pathetic.

      Then the WaPo is blowing up about the hiring of a NY Yankees based writer Jorge Castillo who will be covering the Wizzers. The Wizzers?

      “Jorge Castillo
      @jorgeccastillo
      I cover the New York Yankees for The Star-Ledger. I also do other things.”

      • coollikelivo - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:22 AM

        Yes, it’s true. Claimed the game ended “too late” in my NoVa home delivery edition….

      • 6ID20 - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:25 AM

        I canceled my home delivery subscription to the Post years ago. I also do other things.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:34 AM

        1st place Nats who deserve a big part of the front page. Really sad.

      • coollikelivo - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:33 AM

        I’m too old and old fashioned not to have something on paper to yell at and spill my coffee on in the morning… :-)

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:39 AM

        I hear you! I had a buddy photograph his WaPo for me. What a joke. A giant photo of Jay Gruden. I’m a big Skins fan but the Nats deserve good pub in DC sports.

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:20 PM

        Interesting – in edition delivered to my front door, Nats story is at the very top of page 1 of the sports section, running all the way across.

        But in the “replica” version of today’s print edition on line, the front page of the sports section is indeed all pointy ball.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:22 PM

        That’s bizarre. 2 different print editions

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:40 PM

        I assume mine was a later edition, printed after Kilgore’s story from Denver was in.

        But then why not use the latest print edition for the one they put on line?

  30. natsguy - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:11 AM

    Darwin Barney available from Cubs.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:13 AM

      Why bother. You have Espinosa. If you think RZim will be out longer than 15 days you get Chase Utley! Come on, Darwin Barney is awful.

      • therealjohnc - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:22 AM

        Chase Utley isn’t coming to DC. It’s just not happening. Full no trade clause, stated intention to remain in Philadelphia, massive PR hit to the franchise, intradivision trade?

        Just stop. If Werth goes down the Nats aren’t getting Giancarlo Stanton either.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:29 AM

        Nats got Josh Willingham from the Fish and while I think it’s far flung to get Chase Utley, there’s your solution but it’s only necessary to make a big move if RZim is out for any more than 15 days.

        Maybe you revisit a large trade package for Aaron Hill, Cody Ross, and Brad Ziegler.

        The DBacks have been known to do big packages like they did with Upton and Chris Johnson.

        Chase Headley by the way had the walkoff single for the Yankees last night.

      • Section 222 - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:46 PM

        Are you saying that because the Marlins traded Willingham (and Scott Olsen) to the Nats in 2008, that shows that the Phillies might trade Utley to us now? Not really a relevant comparison. Besides, who do you think we have that we’d be willing to trade to them that would be a good enough exchange for them to do it? Willing to part with Michael Taylor and/or AJ Cole?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:50 PM

        Sec222, first things first. Let’s find out how RZim is. If it’s not good news, I get on the phone with Amaro and make a trade.

        If not him, then my proposed DBacks trade gets larger to include Aaron Hill, Brad Ziegler and Cody Ross.

        Hopefully RZim is just gone for 15 days and no more.

  31. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:12 AM

    Seems like a sizeable over-reaction unless you think RZim won’t be back by August 8th. This team unfortunately has been used to playing without Ryan. It’s just what has been the way it’s been.

  32. mrnat7 - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    I still say Espi could settle all his problems and the Nats problems, if he would just choke up and become a contact hitter. Is he just to stubborn or haven’t the coaches tried having him choke up and make contact.
    Also, do we have the most thick head players! First, Zimmerman goes head first into home (again) the other night. He put his career on a downward plane during this when he originally hurt his shoulder. And (again) Bryce goes into third head first last night. It’s a wonder he didn’t get hurt again!! (Also, there would have been no doubt on the suppose tag if he goes feet first. He could have slide right around the tag!) The face of the franchise ruins his career sliding head first and the boy wonder may end up during the same. I know they can slide feet first because I’ve seen them do it!!! Come on management make sliding feet first mandatory! I don’t see Span or Werth going head first. Maybe they should give the others some advice and lessons!!

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:20 AM

      “I still say Espi could settle all his problems and the Nats problems, if he would just choke up and become a contact hitter.”

      OK, tell the guy what we already know that he needs to make contact. You will need a sledgehammer, a jackhammer, and a loud voice to get it into his thick head.

      • rayvil01 - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:31 PM

        Amazing. He could really up his money if he would only stop swinging from his heels. Won’t learn.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:33 PM

        Nope. It’s sports insanity. He changes for a while then hits a HR and thinks he’s a power hitter and then starts swinging from the heels. It’s a cycle of insanity we have witnessed over and over and over again.

      • rayvil01 - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:47 PM

        Agreed. Desmond has the same syndrome. But he actually can hit homers. Still..there are times in tight ball games where a soft single would do all the damage needed.

        My old manager called it “Testosterone Poisoning.”

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:59 PM

        Yep, watch Yadi Molina and Freddie Freeman how they approach it. Shorten up the swing and make solid contact.

      • RPrecupjr - Jul 23, 2014 at 2:36 PM

        I guess we’ll watch Yadi next year

      • RPrecupjr - Jul 23, 2014 at 2:37 PM

        Hooray, my first WordPress screwup….needless to say, that was a response to GOSM

  33. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:22 AM

    Wainwright got torched for 4 earned last night. You have to wonder the effect of no Yadier Molina on the Cardinals pitchers.

    • Section 222 - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:47 PM

      Yes, going to be a real dogfight in the NL Central. I wouldn’t put money on the Cards, that’s for sure.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:58 PM

        I think it goes to whoever upgrades at the trade deadline and gets healthy the quickest.

        Brewers, Cards, Reds, Pirates.

        Pirates need pitching. Brewers need a new Manager. Cardinals need Yadier Molina and bullpen help and another front line starter. Reds need a healthy Votto and some bullpen arms and a 2nd baseman.

      • RPrecupjr - Jul 23, 2014 at 2:32 PM

        “Brewers, Cards, Reds, Pirates”

        Hey, what about the Cubs? Oh, right….nvermind

  34. laddieblahblah - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:31 AM

    Some good observations here about Walters. The Nats have been using him at both 2nd and 3rd in AAA. This could be another opportunity for him to prove himself at the ML level. He has to be able to cut it defensively, though.

    Earlier this year, Jack mentioned that Walters was doing well, defensively, at 2nd base. Maybe Rendon can stay at 3rd if Walters can play 2nd. He has been hitting almost as well from the left side as he has from the right side. He does seem to be a viable option, if the Nats choose to use him.

    I like Souza, too, but the Nats need another infielder more than another outfielder. Harp has got left field covered. The big hole is in the infield.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:38 AM

      Espi can bat right-handed but Walters didn’t have good splits and good swings as a lefty when he was in DC. Yes I know, small sample sizes.

  35. Theophilus T.S. - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:15 PM

    The Nats had an opportunity this year to develop Walters as a ML backup but instead gave us Fransden. Fransden, in turn gave us a few good games in April and early May but has since pretty much fallen off his bicycle.
    And, as a long-term (more than ten days) replacement for any of the infielders, would be seriously inadequate. Meanwhile, nobody knows what Walters might be capable of doing. This is what the Brain Trust’s fetish about veterans as spare parts has wrought.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:27 PM

      It’s a balancing act and Walters was a man without a defensive position that he was “average” at. Poor planning if you ask me. I have said for over a year they were wasting time on putting Walters in at SS. Walters is also a free swinger with little discipline and isn’t too unlike Danny Espinosa.

      If you want to upgrade, nows the time to do it via the trade market.

  36. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:28 PM

    LaRoche of course starting at 1st and Espi at 2nd and batting before Lobaton.

  37. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:30 PM

    Zach Walters indeed called up and Ryan Zimmerman to the DL.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:34 PM

      The question we don’t know is the severity of the hamstring injury. The MRI has already been done. Let’s hope it’s not severe.

  38. janebeard - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:30 PM

    There’s no point in whining but still I’ve been doing it all day. he contributes so much just from his presence. Can he hang in the dugout while on the DL? I guess his thumb will get stronger during this stint, too, so he won’t come back with less power. But sheesh. He must be so so bummed.

    In the interview last night, the Skipper looked as grim as I’ve seen him. He could barely form words through his gritted teeth.

    I’ll continue to whine in private now.

  39. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:37 PM

    OMG, Scott Hairston starts in LF and Bryce in RF and Werth is getting the day off. Hairston hits De La Rosa well. I heard that about his ownage of Hamels.

    • rayvil01 - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:50 PM

      Day off tomorrow. Sitting Werth? Hmmmn.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 1:01 PM

        I hope he isn’t gimpy with that groin. It would’ve been smarter to sit him yesterday if it was just a planned “rest day”.

        I can understand giving Hairston another start based on the stats but like we saw with Cole Hamels, Hairston isn’t the guy he was 2 to 3 years ago. Hamels got Hairston each time a RISP then Hairston gets a single with nobody on base.

      • rayvil01 - Jul 23, 2014 at 1:25 PM

        JW hasn’t looked good in the field. Groin may be sore. That would explain a lot.

  40. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:54 PM

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/play-index/batter_vs_pitcher.cgi?pitcher=rosajo01#gotresults&pitcher=rosajo01&min_year_game=2004&max_year_game=2014&post=1&opp_id=WSN&bats=any&opponent_status=&c1criteria=&c1gtlt=eq&c1val=0&c2criteria=&c2gtlt=eq&c2val=0&orderby=PA&orderby_dir=desc&orderby_second=Name&orderby_dir_second=asc&ajax=1&submitter=1

    Werth smashes Jorge De La Rosa. Of course Hairston does also. You would think there was a clause where the Nats had to use Hairston. They trot him out there in place of the wrong guy. Outfield should be Hairston, McLouth and Werth if you go by the stats.

  41. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 1:02 PM

    Cody Ross to the DL with a calf strain.

  42. thomaswell - Jul 23, 2014 at 4:01 PM

    has anyone heard about MRI results? besides it is not severe. some reason i have bad feeling that this will be much longer than 15

  43. natsfan1a - Jul 24, 2014 at 7:29 AM

    Test.

Archives

FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 96 66 --
ATLANTA 79 83 17.0
NEW YORK 79 83 17.0
MIAMI 77 85 19.0
PHILADELPHIA 73 89 23.0

NL POSTSEASON SCHEDULE

NL WILD CARD GAME
WED: Giants at Pirates, 8:07 p.m. (ESPN)

NLDS
FRI: Game 1, Pirates at Nats, 12:07 p.m.,
OR Giants at Nats, 3:07 p.m. (FS1)
SAT: Game 2, PIT/SF at Nats, 5:37 p.m. (FS1)
MON: Game 3, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (MLBN)
TUE: Game 4, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (FS1)*
OCT. 9: Game 5, PIT/SF at Nats, TBA (FS1)*
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As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

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