Nationals holding breath while awaiting 3B Zimmerman MRI results

SAN DIEGO -- Not much has gone wrong for the Nationals during the season's first three weeks, but Davey Johnson is holding his breath while awaiting results from Gold Glove third baseman Ryan Zimmerman's MRI exam Tuesday evening.

The results were shipped back to D.C., where Dr. Wiemi Douoguih, the Nationals' medical director and head team physician, is scheduled to examine them on Wednesday morning. But Johnson was not liking what he was hearing after Tuesday's 3-1 series-opening win over the Padres.

"At this point, as far as I know, it's not very favorable," Johnson said. "It looks like he'll need some more rest."

Zimmerman's right shoulder began bothering him last week after he made several snazzy diving plays. The Nationals are calling it "inflammation" and Zimmerman says it's not bad enough to put him on the disabled list.

He had missed just one game, Saturday against Miami, had two days off when the Nats were rained out Sunday against Miami and then Monday when the Nats enjoyed a free day in San Diego.

Zimmerman thought for sure he'd be ready for Tuesday's series opener against the Padres, but the shoulder didn't respond to treatment as quickly as he thought.

He compared it to a "jammed finger" and said it does not hurt to throw. His throwing, he noted, is "100 percent." But the problem comes when he swings and connects with the ball, and the reverberation hurts his shoulder. In 15 games this season, Zimmerman is hitting .224 with one homer and seven RBI.

"I was optimistically looking forward to today," said Johnson before the game and before having to pencil in Steve Lombardozzi Jr. at third base instead of Zimmerman.

Though Zimmerman appears frustrated with the lingering pain, he said he'd rather take "a day, two days, whatever it is, and get healthy, rather than be 80 percent for six months."

Before going off for an MRI, Zimmerman said that he does not think "a day, two days" will turn into a 15-day stint on the disabled list.

Asked whether it would be better for his third baseman to miss 15 games now as opposed to two months later, Johnson cringed.

"Certainly, I don't even want to think about it," Johnson said.


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