Aug 25, 2014, 6:29 PM EDT
PHILADELPHIA — Though he was out of the Nationals’ lineup Monday night against the Phillies, Asdrubal Cabrera insists the injury he sustained to his right side Sunday isn’t serious and he could play if absolutely needed.
Cabrera hurt himself hitting a grounder to short during the sixth inning of Sunday’s win over the Giants, feeling a tug on his right side. But he took an early round of batting practice Monday afternoon in the cage at Citizens Bank Park and planned to participate fully during the Nationals’ pregame workout.
“I feel much better today,” he said. “I’m going to do my routine and see how I feel.”
Cabrera said he has never dealt with this type of injury in his career, so he has no real reference point for this. But he remains confident it’s not serious, and understands it’s best to take it easy for now.
“They say it’s better to lose one day than to lose 15 days on the DL,” he said.
The Nationals were initially worried at the sight of Cabrera wincing following a swing, movement that often suggests a strained oblique or ribcage muscle. But manager Matt Williams said there’s no evidence this is an oblique injury.
“He doesn’t act like it’s an oblique, a normal oblique,” Williams said. “He felt it running down after he swung, so we figured let’s err on the side of caution, make sure he’s not bad. And then he hit in the cage today and said he’s OK. … That’s a long one if they do it bad. Fortunately, for now, he appears to be OK.”
The Nationals probably will keep Cabrera out of Monday night’s game, barring an emergency situation. Even if ready to play Tuesday, Williams could elect to sit him once again, with Danny Espinosa getting the start against left-hander Cole Hamels.
In other injury news: Ryan Zimmerman will continue to slowly ramp up his rehab from a major hamstring strain this week while the Nationals are on the road, but the veteran third baseman’s return to the lineup remains some time away. Zimmerman has begun light throwing in recent days, but he has yet to start swinging a bat.
“He’s just going to do his normal progression,” Williams said of his third baseman, who is expected to return sometime in September. “He’ll go faster and faster on the treadmill. He’ll do more and more longer throwing. And when he feels good about all that stuff, then he can start hitting and doing some baseball stuff.”
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