Nationals manager Matt Williams received X-ray results on third baseman Ryan Zimmerman and his broken thumb. Zimmerman has been on the disabled list since April 13.
Unfortunately, Zimmerman will not be able to begin strength exercises yet.
“X-rays were good, but it is not fully healed yet,” Williams said. “So the doctor is not comfortable with him starting any strengthening stuff yet. I imagine we will go back to that in about a week and see where he is at. It’s only four weeks, doesn’t want to run the risk of reinjuring it.
“Once he is able to start his strengthening stuff, it’s pain tolerance and the bone will be semi-healed at that point and the extra pressure actually helps it heal even more. But before you get to that point, you want to make sure you got good callous around it. He is close to being able to start his process.”
Williams updated a few players and their injuries and recovery. Nate McLouth injured his hand diving into the wall along the left field foul line at Nationals Park last week. The wound on his hand was reinjured a bit Monday.
“Nate yesterday during batting practice ripped his wound open again and did it even worse during the game,” Williams said. “He is sore today. I am assuming he is in there tomorrow.”
Williams said McLouth could pinch-hit and be a defensive replacement off the bench.
Williams also talked about what McLouth is working on to get out of an early season slump at the plate.
“His key is staying on top of the baseball,” Williams said. “His power is pull power, gap over here, line drive to left to his opposite side. He has hit a lot of fly balls to left. For him, that won’t translate because it’s not great power that way.”
“He can certainly play first, played a lot of first last year when (Ryan) Howard was out,” Williams said. “Not a lot of outfield, but he has played well for us in left. He can put the gear on, too. He is a gamer. He is a baseball player.”
Shortstop Ian Desmond also hit a home run Monday, his first RBI in 10 days. Williams said that at-bat might help Desmond get something going offensively.
“I think the key for him is to backspin baseballs,” Williams said. “Last night was an example. He took a changeup that’s up in the strike zone, but way on the other side of the plate and lined it to left out of the park. That is his swing for me. If he stays on top of the baseball hitting it the other way, that translates into base hits.
“At the end of the season, Ian will be where Ian usually is. It hasn’t been what he wanted so far, but it will be there.”
Wilson Ramos is still recovering from his left hand fracture while on the job. Williams said he is closer to getting full strength back in that hand.
“I think his hand is fine,” Williams said. “He has got a little bit of a different follow-through right now, which tells me the strength probably isn’t all the way back. But that will come by catching and by playing.
“I think his timing is a touch off and it looks like it. He rolled over a ball last night that he usually hits really well. He will be fine. He is still kind of in the rehab process. You never know how many games you need after something like that. I think his legs are good and I think he feels good about it. It is a question of getting his timing and swing back. He will be there.”
Williams confirmed they will continue to keep three catchers on the roster and Ramos will likely get a day off tomorrow.
Williams was also asked why reliever Drew Storen has pitched in only three of the Nationals’ last 13 games.
“The issue is we are in situations where we have had to go long into our bullpen,” Williams said. “I would imagine there will be times during the season where Drew will be in eight of 13 games, a la (Tyler Clippard) early. That is kind of the way we played early on where he had lot of leads and we had opportunity for Clipp to get in the eighth inning a lot early on. I think it is ebb and flow of season. There is nothing wrong. There is no reason that he has been in three of the 13. It is a function of where we are at and how the games have gone.”
Williams said Storen is not complaining about his role.
“He is good with it,” Williams said. “He is throwing. He has been up a lot. Situation last night if we get a base hit, Denard (Span) hits the ball into the gap, if we tie that game Drew is in the game. If the ball bounces over the fence and we don’t end up scoring there, he is not in the game, because that is not his situation.
“He is up and he is hot, and he is ready to go, but since we didn’t score, so (Aaron) Barrett is in the game.”