The Nationals are looking at the possibility of another possibility of another extended stretch without third baseman Ryan Zimmerman as they open a six-game West Coast Road trip that will offer the toughest test of the season thus far.
Zimmerman was expecting to return Tuesday night after missing Saturday’s game with right shoulder inflammation, but manager Davey Johnson tells The Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore and other reporters that Zimmerman was sent for an MRI after experiencing more pain during batting practice. A follow-up X-ray revealed a sprain or strain in the AC joint. Johnson says the initial MRI results were “not real favorable” and that the team will rest him for at least another day before deciding whether to place him on the disabled list.
Johnson plans to use Mark DeRosa, Chad Tracy and Steve Lombardozzi at third base in Zimmerman’s absence. Call-up possibilities if Zimmerman does go on the DL include Brett Carroll, Jason Michaels, Mark Teahen and Tyler Moore.
Meanwhile, the Nats improved to a National League-leading 13-4 Tuesday night behind another stellar performance on the mound from Gio Gonzalez. The left-hander tossed six shutout innings in their 3-1 series-opening win over San Diego, allowing just two hits, two walks and striking out six. Nats starters have now thrown 22 consecutive scoreless innings and Gonzalez’ personal scoreless streak stands at 20.
Chad Tracy broke a scoreless tie with a pinch-hit, two-run single in the top of the seventh in a lefty-lefty matchup against San Diego starter Clayton Richard (0-2). Rick Ankiel came off the bench to provide an insurance RBI single in the ninth. Tyler Clippard worked out of the two-on, no-out jam in the eighth, allowing only one unearned run. Henry Rodriguez mowed down the Padres in order in the ninth for his fifth save.
The Nats have a matinee Wednesday afternoon against the Padres. Jordan Zimmermann (0-1) takes the mound for Washington against Joe Wieland (0-2). IN Thursday night’s season finale, Edwin Jackson (1-1) starts for the Nats against San Diego’s Edinson Volquez (0-2).