The Nationals are already beat up just over a week into the season, and their injury predicament is about to get worse.
Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who has been playing with an abdominal strain since spring training and aggravated the injury while sliding into second base Saturday, will go on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday, according to a MASNSports.com report. Zimmerman's placement will be retroactive to Sunday, so he would be eligible to return on April 25.
The loss is a blow to the Nationals' offense, which was already 11th in the National League in runs and 15th in hits with Zimmerman, who was off to a stellar start. He batted .357 in the first eight games of the season, posting a 1.022 OPS.
With Zimmerman on the disabled list, the Nationals will likely have to move Jayson Werth from the second spot in the lineup to the No. 3 hole, meaning they'd have to find someone else to hit second. Werth was batting there because the Nationals didn't feel like they had two hitters at the top of the lineup who could consistently get on base. Now, though, he is the team's only solid all-around hitter.
Jerry Hairston and Alex Cora could get time at third base in Zimmerman's absence, and the Nationals will likely call up another player to add to their bench. That could possibly be infielder Brian Bixler, who is at Class AAA Syracuse (N.Y.) after an impressive spring training.
Outfielder Roger Bernadina, who missed out on the last roster spot in spring training, would be another candidate, but he missed the start of Syracuse's season on bereavement leave, and he's another left-handed bat. Whatever the Nationals do, though, they'll be hurting without Zimmerman.
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