Good news came Friday for the Washington Nationals, as they welcomed the return of third baseman Ryan Zimmerman to the starting lineup against the Pittsburgh Pirates after his recent stint on the disabled list due to a hamstring injury. However, joy quickly turned to disappointment, as Zimmerman marked his return with a 0-4, 4 strikeout 'Golden Sombrero' performance, three at the hands of Pirates starter A.J. Burnett.
Coming a day after his only minor league rehab start for the Advanced Class A Potomac Nationals saw him go 0-3 with the bat, but without any ill effects of the hamstring strain that sidelined him two weeks, Zimmerman's return in Pittsburgh found him comfortable in the field and free of the throwing woes that felled him in April. With rookie call up Anthony Rendon handling third base duties in his stead, the Nats sputtered to a 6-8 record since Zimmerman's April 18 departure to the DL. Rendon was optioned to Class AA Harrisburg to make room for the return of Zimmerman; in his time with the Nats', Rendon hit at a.240/.367/.280 slash line with one run batted in.
For Zimmerman, his 0-4 day brought his 2013 slash line to .211/.292/.333, with one home run, 11 runs batted in, and 84 OPS+. Frustrated by the slow start to the season, Zimmerman hopes that this most recent trip to the DL will be his last, as he works to regain the production and durability of previous years that saw him win two Silver Slugger awards.
It’s part of the game,” Zimmerman said. “You’re not going to play this
sport or any sport for a long period of time and not have to miss any
games. It happens. You learn from it and move on. It does no good to get
mad or get frustrated when you can’t do anything about it.
The Nationals injury issues with their position players don't end with Zimmerman, as they look to solider on without outfielder Jayson Werth, currently nursing a tight hamstring and swollen left ankle, and deal with the walking wounded Bryce Harper, who still appears to be battling the effects of a bruised rib cage suffered when he collided with the outfield wall during the Nats' recent series with the Atlanta Braves.
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