When Nationals manager Jim Riggleman was filling out his lineup for Saturday's game against the Braves, he didn't even wait to see how Ryan Zimmerman was feeling. He just wrote the lineup without the third baseman, who is still nursing strained intercostal muscles in his ribs.
Riggleman said he would encourage Zimmerman to take some swings, but is continuing to pursue a line of extreme caution with him. It's unlikely Zimmerman will play tomorrow, Riggleman said, and if he's still feeling symptoms of the strain, the Nationals might shut him down for the year.
"What I don't want to have happen is that he plays in a game, swings and hurts it, and now it's a month into the offseason that he's got to rehab the injury," Riggleman said. "Before he gets on track to prepare for next year, he's got to rehab an injury, and if we can avoid that, we will."
Zimmerman seems a likely bet to win his second straight Gold Glove, and is tracking toward career highs in batting average (.307), on-base percentage (.388) and OPS (.899). He could garner some MVP support with those numbers, though his power numbers (25 homers and 85 RBI) could hurt him if he doesn't play any more games this season.
"I'm not really that much into the personal statistics," Riggleman said. "In my opinion, I think he's going to get another Gold Glove. Hitting .300 is very hard to do. All of his numbers are good. The on-base percentage is way up. The doubles are right there where you figure he's going to be, and his home runs are good. He's missed some games earlier in the year, and he's going to miss a few here now. His numbers are very steady."