Ryan Zimmerman could be heading back to DL

It's been clear for a while now that Ryan Zimmerman's not healthy. He's just too good a hitter to be batting .218 with three home runs on the season.

After tonight's 3-1 Nationals win, both Zimmerman and manager Davey Johnson acknowledged that the shoulder inflammation, which landed Zimmerman on the disabled list back in late April, is still a problem, and it might be something that will send him to the DL yet again.

"I'm obviously not 100 percent," a somber Zimmerman said in the Nats' clubhouse. "It's one of those things, it's just frustrating because it feels fine when I throw, it feels fine with I play defense. When I hit BP, it's OK. It just hasn't translated into the game, obviously."

Johnson said that the Nationals are considering having Zimmerman get another cortisone shot in the injured shoulder, and a DL stint is a possibility.

"I'm that concerned," Johnson said.

Zimmerman is in a stretch where he has just five hits in his last 50 at-bats, and he doesn't have an extra-base hit in his last 13 games. In Johnson's mind, the shoulder has been a huge part of those struggles.

"You can tell by the way he's not getting at balls he normally gets at," Johnson said.

zimmerman-frustrated.jpgZimmerman agrees.

"It's not like I'm swinging at bad pitches," he said. "I'm just missing pitches that I usually hit. It'd be different if I was striking out and swinging at sliders in the dirt and swinging at fastballs above my chest or whatever. But I've been working decent counts and getting decent pitches to hit, and I just foul them back or am a tick late.

"And for me, if I'm in a hitter's count and I see a fastball, I usually am not continuously late pitch after pitch. That's what's so frustrating. But, like I said, I wish I had a definite answer, but it's just one of those things where you just have to keep going, and if something happens, we'll deal with it when it happens."

The cortisone shot is the "last resort," Zimmerman said. But if the current treatment options - which consist of massages and using ultrasound - don't help the shoulder improve, Zimmerman realizes he'll need to nip this thing in the bud.

"At some point, you kind of have to look at it and say, is it smarter to go through this, or should we try and do something using the All-Star break to get it better, so that in the second half, I can actually be 100 percent or a lot closer to 100 percent," Zimmerman said. "And I think that's important."

One option the Nationals could go with is having Zimmerman go on the DL June 28, this upcoming Thursday. That would allow him to use the All-Star break to heal and to be out of the lineup for only 10 games over the duration of a 15-day DL stint.

Whichever way the Nats choose to go, Zimmerman is obviously growing tired of the way he's been going.

"I've been hitting for a while here, and I don't miss fastballs the way I've been missing fastballs," Zimmerman said. "So it's frustrating, but I've just got to continue to do my treatment and stuff and hopefully it will improve and we'll get to that. But if things keep going the way they've been going, we're going to have to do something."

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