Harper, Werth, Haren all continue to battle injuries
Davey Johnson has felt all along that Ryan Zimmerman's surgically repaired right shoulder wouldn't be 100 percent healthy until sometime in midseason, so the Nationals manager wasn't particularly surprised when his third baseman noted some discomfort in that shoulder last week.
"I said in the spring that with as hard as he's been working with it, it was going to take him at least until the middle of June to where he'd get over the hump with his shoulder," Johnson said. "I think we're pretty close."
Close, but not all the way there yet, so Zimmerman got a rare night off Tuesday to let the shoulder rest.
Johnson insisted Zimmerman would be available to pinch-hit in this game and that he'd be back in the lineup Wednesday. But after hearing the veteran slugger mention the discomfort a few days ago, Johnson decided to find a break in the schedule for him. Since the Nationals also had Monday off, Zimmerman is getting a full 48 hours to rest.
"Zim's fine," Johnson said. "A few days ago, he was having a little discomfort in his shoulder and he was looking for a spot where maybe I could give him a couple days off. Kind of earmarked giving him one after the off-day. ... It's nothing different than I was doing for the other guys. We had a long stretch there, giving them a day off or a couple days off, like I did with [Denard] Span and [Adam] LaRoche."
Zimmerman played most of last season with a sprained AC joint in his shoulder, receiving several cortisone shots along the way to ease the pain and allow him to stay in the lineup while the Nationals battled for their first-ever NL East title. He had surgery following the season and pronounced himself 100 percent healthy when he reported for spring training, though Johnson always believed the rehab process would take a bit longer.
Zimmerman's throwing woes have been well-noted, though he's actually made considerable strides as the season has progressed. After committing eight errors in his first 27 games, he has been charged with only three over his last 32 games, posting a .967 fielding percentage that outpaces his career mark by 10 full points.
Zimmerman's daily pregame throwing regimen may be contributing to his current discomfort.
"I mean, he does a whole lot of throwing, even during a ballgame," Johnson said. "When you do that much work, sometimes you can get a little ... I don't want to call it dead arm, but something like that. So it's just a good opportunity [to take a rest]."
Jayson Werth, meanwhile, was back in the lineup Tuesday after leaving Sunday's game early with a minor groin pull. The veteran right fielder said he's fine and he's played through similar ailments in the past.