Zimmerman fractured his right thumb in tonight's 6-3 loss to the Braves, an injury that will knock the Nationals' third baseman out for four to six weeks, according to manager Matt Williams.
"It is what it is. Nobody's going to feel sorry for us," Williams said. "Gotta play."
Zimmerman injured the thumb while trying to dive back into second base on a pickoff attempt in the fifth inning. Braves starter Alex Wood's throw got to shortstop Andrelton Simmons at the bag, and Zimmerman got back to the base a beat too late. His hand looked like it jammed against the bag, and after he was called out, Zimmerman stayed crouched down on the infield dirt for a few seconds before slowly walking off.
"The ball took Andrelton away a little bit and he kind of lunged after the ball and fell on Zim, but I think from what I've seen, and again, I'll have to look at it, I think he (injured the thumb) on the bag," Williams said. "So, unfortunate, but we've got to step forward from here."
Infielder Zach Walters, currently with Triple-A Syracuse, was pulled during a game at Scranton this evening. Williams did not announce what the corresponding roster move for Zimmerman will be, but Walters is an option.
After Zimmerman left the game, the Nationals had Anthony Rendon slide over and replace Zimmerman at third base, and Danny Espinosa came into the game to play second. That will likely be their alignment for much of the time Zimmerman is out.
"Yeah, it's not our first choice certainly, but the fact that they can play multiple positions is good in times like this," Williams said. "Certainly never want to miss somebody like Zim for that amount of time, but it is what it is. There's nothing we can do about it now except play."
Zimmerman has battled a handful of injuries early in the season in recent years; this marks the fourth straight season that Zimmerman has landed on the DL in April.
"It's tough," Jayson Werth said. "We were just talking the other day about having a good April and how important it was to get through April not only healthy but hot. Put up good numbers and win a bunch of games in April and kind of set up your season. It was probably 2-3 days ago we were talking about that. You feel bad for him. It's such a freak injury on a play like that. But we'll be alright. We've got some good players. We'll manage. Anytime you lose the guy in the middle of your lineup, it hurts. But we've got guys who can play here, and I think we're bringing up a kid that can play. We'll have to figure out a way."
Zimmerman joins Doug Fister (strained lat), Wilson Ramos (fractured hamate bone), Scott Hairston (oblique strain) and Denard Span (concussion) on the DL.
"It's obviously a test, but we've got to find a way," Werth said. "Good teams deal with injuries and have to overcome all kinds of things in a season. It's early, it's April. We've got a long way to go, but that's why you've got a farm system and why you go out and get good bench players. We'll have to manage it. I think we're a good team any way you cut it. Obviously losing those guys is tough, and you don't want to have to lose them. But that's the name of the game sometimes. We'll be alright."