On Tuesday morning, Matt Williams went on a local D.C. radio show and said that Ryan Zimmerman has an arthritic shoulder. Williams continued on by saying that Zimmerman could see some action at first base due to that. However, the Washington Nationals would be better off sending him to the disabled list.
Currently occupying first base is the hot bat of Adam LaRoche. While it makes sense to simply move Zimmerman over to first, is it worth sacrificing the white-hot bat of LaRoche in your lineup? He’s off to a start that rivals his 2012 season and leads the team in homers (two) and RBIs (eight).
The biggest problem with Zimmerman’s shoulder is that it hurts when he throws the ball, something all too important for a third baseman. On the field, it’s shown. In two chances at third base, he’s got two ugly errors. Dating back to last season, there’s a new upward trend in errors from him.
It’s not like he won’t have to throw the baseball standing over a first, either. While the first baseman is primarily on the receiving end of things, they do have to throw the ball to second to kick-start a double play, among other things. If moving him to first is their solution to his shoulder hurting when he throws, it seems more like a patchwork job more than anything else.
That is assuming he’ll make a smooth transition to third base. He received minimal reps at that position in Spring Training, but is that really enough to make anyone comfortable with being the everyday guy? I can understand a spot start here and there, but putting him there for an extended period time could spell trouble.
If with that in mind, putting him on the bench is a tough decision. On the season, he’s batting .350 with one homer and three RBIs. While his defense is suffering, his play at the plate is not. When you look at who would fill in the gaps in his absence, that gives you all the more reason to put him back in the lineup.
However, maybe a trip to the DL is exactly what Zimmerman needs. Rather than letting this fester and possibly get worse, give him a couple weeks or so to get back to 100-percent. Don’t even let him pick up a baseball, much less throw one. Try to get this nagging injury out of the way early in hopes it stays at bay for good.
The Nationals need Zimmerman in the lineup, but they also need LaRoche as well. Putting Zimmerman on the DL for a couple weeks to start the season is their best course of action. They can weather the storm early, but they’ll want him in the hot corner, and more-so the lineup, later in the season.