There have been a number of developments over the past week with regard to the health of both the Washington Nationals and their farmhands. The biggest story in terms of its impact on the team is the status of Ryan Zimmerman. After returning from an injury to his left hamstring, Zimmerman missed a fourth straight game with a tweaked right hamstring. Fortunately, this injury appears less serious than its predecessor, and the team lists Zimmerman as day-to-day. The Nationals are 4-4 in the eight games Zimmerman has missed, but Zimmerman’s health is absolutely crucial to the team’s long-term success.
In addition, part-time right fielder and utility man extraordinaire Willie Harris has been sidelined with a sore right knee. Harris had an MRI Sunday which revealed no structural damage, good news for both his health and the Nationals’ season. After a diving catch in Saturday’s game, Harris said that he could “barely bend his knee,” but fortunately the MRI “didn’t show much but fluid.” While the veteran is certainly in pain, at least his injury does not appear to require surgery or an extended stint on the disabled list.
The Nationals were also briefly without catcher Ivan Rodriguez, who left Friday’s game because of lower back tightness. Again, like the Harris and Zimmerman injuries, this one appears to be relatively mild. Rodriguez was given Saturday off but returned Sunday, going 0-3 with a strikeout. Injury aside, Pudge is off to a phenomenal start, leading the National League with a .411 average. Hopefully this minor setback did not cause him to lose his rhythm at the plate.
Right-hander Jason Marquis will miss 4-6 weeks after an MRI found bone chips in his pitching elbow. After receiving a cortisone shot, Marquis will begin a throwing program early next week and should be back on the mound sometime in May.
Finally, top catching prospect Derek Norris plans to begin his rehab assignment on Monday. Norris, 21, was on the DL with a sore left wrist; however, he is scheduled to travel to Viera tomorrow with designs on beginning offensive and defensive exercises by Wednesday. This injury is separate from the hamate bone, which Norris had removed last October. Although Brian Peacock has performed admirably in his place, the Nationals are excited for the return of the talented backstop.