PHILADELPHIA —The Nationals don’t believe Jordan Zimmermann will need to spend any time on the disabled list after an MRI of his right arm taken Saturday revealed only a biceps strain, no structural damage.
Manager Matt Williams dispersed results of the MRI following the Nationals’ 5-3, 10-inning win over the Phillies, breathing a sigh of relief knowing his All-Star pitcher is not seriously injured.
“Given his history, yeah, that’s a big relief for us,” Williams said. “The way he reacted last night, we didn’t think there was an issue with the elbow or the shoulder. But we had to make sure.”
Zimmermann had Tommy John surgery for a torn elbow ligament as a rookie in 2009 but insisted Friday night he had no elbow or shoulder pain, with the discomfort limited to his biceps muscle. He remained unconcerned throughout the process but was reassured by the test results.
“I didn’t think it was bad, anything serious,” he said. “The MRI came back and looked pretty good. A little inflammation. Give it rest for a few days and go home and come back and start throwing on Thursday again.
Zimmermann said he will return home to Auburndale, Wisc., over the All-Star break, electing not to go to Minneapolis for the festivities. That will leave the Nationals, who enter Sunday tied for first place in the NL East, as the only franchise in the majors without representation at the Midsummer Classic.
The Nationals haven’t mapped out a full course moving forward yet, but they can afford to take their time bringing Zimmermann back. They won’t need a fifth starter until July 22 at Cincinnati.
“I think with the All-Star break, we can look at how he comes out of that and see,” Williams said. “If in fact we’ve got to do something like [the DL] after the break, we can do that. We can backdate it. But he was feeling pretty good today. So he’ll go on his normal throwing program and see how he feels. And then once we determine that, we can determine whether it’s something we need to look at after the break or not.”
The biceps strain is muscular only, with no damage to any ligaments, tendons or joints.
Zimmermann took the field during batting practice Saturday and shagged flyballs with his teammates, though he didn’t throw any balls back toward the infield.
“I feel pretty good today,” he said. “I didn’t throw, but for the most part it feels good. I expect it to get better every day.”
The fact Zimmermann (6-5 with a 3.03 ERA in 19 starts) appears to be fine moving forward was particularly pleasing news to the Nationals moments after their extra-inning win.
“Anybody who has been through Tommy John, whether it’s a guy on our team or not or someone else’s team, you never want to see someone go through that stuff,” Ryan Zimmerman said. “With how hard he worked to get back and obviously how great he’s been pitching, it’s a plus for us. It’s nice to have the break kind of built in here, to not have to worry about the DL. He’s going to be a big part of us in the second half and hopefully he can get back from the All-Star break and everything will be good.”